Those of Indian heritage may point using the chin, whole hand, or thumb. Lastly a “dead fish” corresponds to an indifferent and passive handshake. In Arab countries this is also an offensive gesture and can be quite offensive. After asking around a bit, we learned that in some parts of the world, it means to sit on the thumb. If you want to read similar articles to The Meaning of Hand Gestures in different Countries, we recommend you visit our Family health category. Different cultures may point using a range of variations on index finger pointing. It can also be used in an insulting fashion in some Western countries, such as France -- as in, "You great big zero. Zilch. And in some places, it can mean that you're indicating that the other person is a, um, body part with happens to be round (and hidden). This gesture's origin is found in India to symbolize the expulsion of demons. The thumb between the index- and middle finger in the fist form in Russia mean the same thing as the middle finger in America, pinky finger in china mean the exact same thing as middle finger in america, The Meaning of Hand Gestures in different Countries, Putting your thumb and index finger of one hand together, Raising the index and middle fingers of a hand into a V, Raising your index and middle finger into a V with the palm inward, Ask someone to come towards you with a finger, Raising your index finger and little finger to make horns, What Are The Five Senses And What Do They Do, What are the Symptoms of a Lack of Oxygen to the Brain, How does Caffeine Affect the Nervous System, How Long Does it Take for Prednisone to Work, What Is The Normal Range Of Lymphocyte Count, Causes of Pain in Right Side of your Stomach, How Many Calories To Eat Per Day Based On Age, How Much Prednisone to Use For Sinus Infection, How to Get Rid of Fluid Retention in the Legs. Which countries find it most offensive? It's not just West Africa, though. Don’t try to … In Brazil, it could mean... um... something really rude. What You Need to Know, Don't Make These Etiquette Mistakes in India, Hand Gestures in the World With More Than One Meaning. This gesture first got this meaning in the UK, is also known as the "two-fingered salute" and has been widely used against authority. Showing feet is taken as offensive in some Middle Eastern cultures. The two fingers held aloft in a V are fine provided your palm is facing out, but in some countries -- namely, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom -- it's an insult of the first order if you make the same gesture but with your palm facing inward. In some cultures, crossing your fingers is a sign of good luck or best wishes. In Vietnam, however, this is an obscene gesture, especially when done while looking at or addressing another person. And the ring symbolizes intuition, communication, and quick intelligence. Touchiness and physical affection are not common in Chinese culture. For fans of heavy metal it means "What's up?". Nada. Last on our list of hand gestures in different country is putting your fingers together. If in doubt, motion with your head to point at something. However, crossing your fingers can also signify a white lie, especially when trying to hide the hand this means that you are lying during a conversation. Sometimes the hand is moved to emphasize the gesture. Should you be lucky enough to travel to China, know that the vendor at that street stall is not telling you that you're a loser for playing it safe with the onion pancakes (what, the skewered thing with several legs doesn't seem appealing?). And in many African countries, you should also only point at an inanimate object and never at humans. Hand gestures and body gestures can have meanings in other countries and cultures that are not what you think they are -- for instance, an "OK" sign in the United States is a circle made with the thumb and forefinger; in parts of Europe, it could mean that the person to whom you're making the gesture is a big fat zero. If you're in the habit of throwing a thumbs up at people to express your happiness, try to quash it for any trips to the regions mentioned above. People and their cultures interpret all these ways to give a handshake in different ways. Kathleen Crislip is a freelance writer who has covered backpack travel adventures for students and other young travelers. This gesture called a shaka sign is typical in Hawaii and in places where there's a surf and beach culture. Regardless of the hand, pinky fingers mean you are a good negotiator. It is used in several meanings, including when it is meant to underline some statement and attract attention to it, to point out some fact, or to ⚠️ Warn someone about something important. This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. Sticking the middle finger up with the fingernail pointing outwards is also rude in Britain. Even babies point their fingers at objects they want. Knowing this it is especially important for communicating in … However, pointing a finger has a meaning in different countries too. While the origins of the action are unclear, it appears the symbol is an attempt to create a crude "o" and "k" (the "o" is certainly clear, though not so much the "k"). Bottom line: Don't worry about accidentally insulting your hosts in a foreign country with some inadvertent rudeness. ~ Western cultures consider finger-pointing to be one of the most obscene hand gestures. ~ This could also mean placing a blame on someone. In the Middle East it is better to avoid using this gesture because it means that you are telling the person you are doing it to stick it where the sun doesn't shine. Lifting the thumb and little finger. Again, better off with the enthusiastic smile to indicate that all is well. In the Middle East and Far East use the index and middle fingers together or the whole hand to point something out. Meanwhile, in Turkey it is a positive sign meaning everything is well or that something is pretty. Facing your palm up and curling an index finger toward yourself is commonly understood as a “beckoning” gesture. In the previous section we explained that the V sign means victory or peace. A hand with the index and middle fingers crossed is even the logo for the UK’s National Lottery. Cross-Cultural Communication Also in Britain, it's obscene to stick two fingers up in a V-sign with the nails pointing outwards. Many western cultures make this gesture when wishing for good luck. To point your open hand & outstretched arm toward someone, (as if to say halt! ) It's a … This looks like an 'OK' sign, but not in Brazil. (American culture, for instance, may frown upon it as a point of manners, but it's absolutely more acceptable than, say, giving someone the finger.) In Germany and Hungary, the upright thumb is used to represent the number 1; however, it represents the number 5 in Japan. However, in China it can also mean number six. In Sri Lanka and other Asian countries, the index finger is used instead, but the meaning is the same. In some countries like Russia, Germany or France it is also commonly used to express number one. On the other hand, in Chinese culture pointing is actually a gesture that signifies the number eight. Especially if it's accompanied by a genuine smile. And to some (mostly to older generations), two fingers held up with the palm facing out means V for victory -- hard to insult anyone with that sentiment, but you may find yourself rather misunderstood. Easiest just to smile enthusiastically when things are indeed "OK" in these parts of the world. However, the gesture made by circling thumb and forefinger, with​ the middle, ring, and pinkie fingers extended, has a couple of other meanings than the "Okey dokey" we're most familiar with. It can also be used to seal a promise, like when you vow to keep a secret. (That would be an insult.) America: The thumb between the index and middle fingers represents the nose stolen from a kid’s face in the “I’ve Got Your Nose” game. In the US, my Father (from his army days) said that the Index Finger and Little Finger meant "What you are saying is a lot of BullSh*t" The Fingers as horns and a downward hand movement. Where the middle finger is seen as a rude gesture, using it to point can be extremely off-putting and should be avoided. Italy and Spain: “Hang loose” (or the “rock on” sign) These gestures, generally positive and “cool” in … Be careful using it abroad, though: it's still not really polite to older generations, and it's not polite, at all, to anyone in the Middle and the Far East (use an open hand to point when you're in that neighborhood). Most cultures find pointing rude altogether, but others are more tolerant of its use. Although we haven't personally had too much trouble with this one, we've got a friend who swears she supremely dissed a shopkeeper in West Africa with a thumbs up sign. This is considered as the symbol of the devil in many cultures. Flipping the finger, also known as flipping the bird, is a sign of extreme contempt. In Spain, North America, Ecuador, Chile, Russia and Germany this same sign but bringing the thumb to the mouth means drink because it is reminiscent of the shape of a glass. It is executed by raising the middle finger and making a slight poking motion. Previously, it had been perceived everywhere as a marginally rude gesture, though it was occasionally used to great effect in advertising (think, "Uncle Sam Wants You"). For example, in some countries, pointing a finger at a person is considered an insult, which is why in the U.S. we tell children “don’t point.” While in Italy pointing is used to indicate a direction. The thumbs up gesture can also create some real problems for those who count on their fingers. Across many cultures, this finger has no cultural or religious meaning. This symbol's original meaning was a-OK and NASA was one of the first to use it to describe that everything has gone to plan. "Pointing the finger" is an idiom which usually means blaming someone for something, (also "the finger of blame"). We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain. (By the way, if you haven't yet, do read Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman, a mesmerizing memoir of the author's first big trip abroad that started with an aborted trip in recently opened-to-foreigners China). William Timmons / former Peace Corp volunteer / Niger. In this case I suspect that its literally indicative on your part; "that Person", "Brian", accompanied by an index finger (or sometimes the thumb if said person is immediately to one side or behind) and that no blame is implied. The crossed fingers are said to resemble female genitals. For example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is a sing to show you want a small amount of something. It means something like “come here.”. Some cultures take snapping fingers to get the attention of a waiter as alright whereas some take it as disrespect and very offensive. And in some countries, the number three could be signified by a gesture that looks similar to the okay sign. Some cultures consider pointing fingers at someone as insulting whereas in other parts of the world it is often used as a reference. This gesture has evolved to mean perfect, but in some countries it has completely different meanings: In Germany and Brazil it is a very obscene gesture, in Japan it means money and in France it usually means zero or useless. The two pointing fingers indicate the horns of the Devil. This article has been edited and updated by Lauren Juliff. From there, you're on your own -- just don't feel offended by the gesture. Be careful how you wave at a person in West Africa. Patrice J. Williams is a travel and style content creator and fact checker and author of thrift shopping book ", Pointing Finger: Often a Rude Gesture in Any Country or Culture, OK Sign Is Okay to You, a Big Fat Zero to Some Europeans. The corona is a hand gesture that is carried out by pointing the index and pinkie finger upwards and the two middle fingers and thumb curled towards the palm. Over the early 2000's, a pointing finger came to be an affectionate gesture in the USA: sort of a, "Yeah, you, you're cool." In fairness, it's not likely to offend many people these days, but could be taken the wrong way, so is best to use carefully and not at all if possible. And if you do manage to slip up and offend someone, a simple apology and explanation that you didn't know it was offensive are often all it takes to make amends. This gesture is made by bringing the fingertips of your hand all close together, with … Extending the index finger to point something is probably the most common hand gesture. Although sometimes hard to avoid, doing it is very bad manners. The two index fingers together emoji, which started on TikTok, has now been turned into a meme and is taking over Twitter. A simple "OK" seems, well, simple, right? Peace Sign, V for Victory, or Fighting Words and Hideous Insult. This gesture called a shaka sign is typical in Hawaii and in places … In the Philippines this gesture is liable to arrest and is used to call dogs and prostitutes. The thumbs up gesture is seen as offensive across large parts of the Middle East and South America, too. This gesture has survived many years and is now used in most western countries where thumbs up means we are stating that everything is okay. Flipping the Finger. This gesture was commonly used in World War II by the Allies to symbolize victory. In most countries it is considered insulting to ask someone to come towards you like this. indicates, "F*** you! " In other words, you don't order two beers in an English pub by holding up two fingers with your palm facing you unless you want to get in a bit of a brawl. This gesture is bad manners all around the world. Take heed all you global … In some pagan cults this is also a symbol of the God Wicca. TikTok has become the new go-to hub for trends, challenges and dance crazes and it's also introduced a number of new phrases that … Cultural Mistakes to Avoid Traveling Abroad, Cultural Tips for Business Trips to the Philippines, Know Before You Go: Russian Body Language Etiquette, How to Behave When Visiting the Temples in Thailand, Don't Make These Cultural Mistakes When Doing Business in Singapore, Buddhist Temple Etiquette for Tourists: Dos and Don'ts, A Guide to Lantau Island, Hong Kong's Biggest Island, How to Stay Safe While Traveling in China, Is it Safe to Travel to Kashmir? 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