The thumbs up is one of the most popular hand gestures, but it has greatly different meanings depending on where you use it. While we may think we’re showing a sign of approval (or asking for a ride) when we flash a thumbs-up sign or emoji, it has the opposite effect in middle east countries like Iran and Iraq and even in some spots of Italy and Greece. But not in Vietnam. “Unfortunately, in Iran and neighboring countries like Afghanistan, the thumbs-up is equivalent to the middle finger!” explains Dana Hooshmand, an author for Discover Discomfort, a … … Subscriber However, in Latin America, West Africa and Iran the thumbs up basically means an “up yours.” There, the gesture is thought to resemble female genitals, and making it is similar to giving the middle finger. It is often used just to be silly or to imitate an animal while playing with children.Japan: Also known as the “demon horns,” index fingers pointing up behind the head is used to describe that the signer is angry. 1. Anonymous. This gesture is often seen in Filipino culture when people try to let others know they did well. However, in several countries in West Africa and the Middle East, including Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the gesture has the connotation of "up yours!" As the American usage of a thumbs-up as “O.K.” expanded in the 20th Century, older negative meanings remained in some areas of the world. Thumbs up/down, "OK", pointing at someone or yourself, rubbing fingers together ("money" in the US), even waving with your left hand. Some hand gestures that are innocent in the United States are offensive in other countries. Thumbs Up. We mean to say one thing, but the locals understood it to be something else. You may thing you're telling someone they're A-OK , or being encouraging by giving a thumbs up, but in different countries around the world, hand … This positive gesture has a totally different meaning in Latin America, West Africa, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. In Australia, it means OK, but if you move it up and down, it is considered as a grave insult. 1. Saying goodbye the way Americans do it can be interpreted in some parts of Europe and Latin America as the sign for saying ‘no’. 6 Answers. In India, the thumbs up, combined with a wagging of the fist means, “I doubt that will work.” A thumbs up is an important sign in scuba diving, where it means, “stop the dive and ascend.” Legend has it that the signal dates back to Roman gladiatorial contests. Twist your wrist clockwise and anticlockwise about three times, without changing the position of your It is pretty much used as the same way as done in other countries. Learn all about body language and discover 10 ways that people from around the world express themselves... without ever opening their mouths! Thumbs up 3. Be aware though – not all hand gestures have the same meaning in all countries! So here are five gestures that could get you a punch in the face in other countries 1. The meanings of non-verbal language can change from one culture to another as much as to have the opposite connotation. or "Sit on this!" It is a great way to indicate acknowledgement or approval. 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. In Australia, US, UK, Russia and Canada this is seen as a sign of approval or good job. It also used to mean “V for Victory.”China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand: Cute pose when being photographed.United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland: When the same gesture is done but with the back of the hand facing outward, it’s an insult.ASL: The sign for the number 2. However, the going good sign translates into a rude and offensive gesture in Islamic and Asian countries. America: Good. Luckily body language can help us communicate when words fail to do so. No playing "Heads Up 7-Up" in Thailand, Iran, Afghanistan, and Greece. But as it turns out, not all hand signals are created equal. America: Means hoping for good luck.Vietnam: It is thought to resemble female genitals, and is similar to giving the middle finger.ASL: The sign for the letter R. America: Usually used by rockers, when the index and pinky are raised it is a sign of approval or “rock on!”Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Spain, Italy, Portugal: This sign is made at someone to tell them that their spouse is cheating on them. It's just not nice. I am researching the meaning of different gestures in different countries. In general, we tend to think it's best not to insult your host country when traveling abroad. In most cultures, crossing your fingers means you're hoping for good luck. The thumbs up emoji is, for many of us, an easy way to convey our approval or agreement without having to type actual words. America: Okay.Japan: Money. The softer and more common one is done with your whole hand. But make the same gesture in Brazil, and you're giving the equivalent to the middle finger — the gesture has "insulting and scatological connotations," as the New York Times put it. A hand gesture that is commonly used among all Filipino is thumbs up. The thumbs up sign in Middle Eastern countries, Iran, Iraq and Thailand, is an extremely obscene gesture, equivalent to flipping the finger in Europe. The thumbs up sign in most American and European cultures meaning things are going according to your plans or something you approve of. Starting in 2007, the thumbs-up also appeared on India's one-rupee coin. V-sign (middle and index finger) with palm facing the speaker 4. I am researching the meaning of different gestures in different countries. OK sign. 1. Read this article before using the OK signal, thumbs-up, or even extending a hand shake in other countries. You often show agreement or approval by using the thumbs up emoji but in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, it means ”sit on it,” which is a very obscene gesture. This is the action of punching your fist into your elbow joint while raising the other fist … Common hand gestures used in the United States carry very different meanings in other cultures. Things can get lost in translation, though, when a typical gesture from your country means something completely different in other parts of the world. The thumbs up gesture is used on the logo of Thums Up, a popular brand of cola from India. America: Used to imitate an Italian gesture.Italy: Used when something is unclear. Conversely, the acceptance level of people in English speaking countries differs from other parts of the world where the English language is not that commonly spoken. For them it is like giving them the finger. V-sign (middle and index finger) with palm facing the speaker 4. Answer Save. Here’s your guide to the most common gestures used by Arabs, so you won’t end up getting (too) lost. Not only could your intended message get lost in translation, you could actually end up offending or otherwise causing an unintentional, but inappropriate and unfortunate circumstance for yourself. The most common interpretation of this sign is as a sing of approval (there is even a metaphor in English: The proposal was given a thumbs-up), but there are some countries where it may be an insult or where it will not be understood. 1. In the United States, American Sign Language users use a single thumb up tilted slightly and rapidly left and right to … The OK-sign (circle with thumb and index finger) 2. The 'V' sign, made by holding up the index and middle fingers, initially was used to signal victory by Allied nations during World War II. It almost makes one want to stay at home... – Phil Perry May 13 '14 at 20:19 There, it's used to mock cuckolds — husbands whose wives are unfaithful. I am researching the meaning of different gestures in different countries. Can anyone tell me what the below mean in Turkey? Source(s): Been deployed to Iraq … In the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Russia, giving someone the thumbs up is similar to the ‘okay’ gesture above, but more positive.It’s usually given as a sign of approval for a job well done or used when thanking someone. In fact, some innocent hand signals might come off as offensive! Making a circle with your thumb and your index finger … Thumbs up. In India, the thumbs up, combined with a wagging of the fist means, “I doubt that will work.” A thumbs up is an important sign in scuba diving, where it means, “stop the dive and ascend.” The thumbs-up gesture is commonly used in many cultures to signify a job well done. The gesture is often performed by flicking the V up from the wrist or elbow. Thumbs-Up The thumbs-up signals approval in the U.S. and on Facebook, but in Afghanistan, Iran, parts of Italy, and Greece, it means "up yours." America: A gesture showing a slit to the neck means “you’re done for.”Japan: It means “you’re fired.” This is because the word kubi, which means fired from a job, sounds the same as kubi that means the neck or throat. No playing "Heads Up 7-Up" in Thailand, Iran, Afghanistan, and Greece. Just ask any traveler who's given a thumbs-up in Afghanistan. Thumbs Down to Thumbs Up. When held stationary and thrust toward another person the meaning is “yourself.”. This article takes a look at one of the most common signs: the thumbs-up sign. Traveling to an Arab country can definitely be colorful because of the enormous amount of gesticulation that Arabs do while talking. The Importance of Cultural Awareness ring gesture. ", "Yes", or "I approve." Japan: The symbol of a lover or significant other.ASL: The sign for the letter I. America, Ecuador: “Come here.” This gesture is also used when seducing someone.Philippines: It’s only used to call a dog. But in some parts of the world, such as West Africa and the Middle … This symbol's original meaning was a … The thumbs up sign in most American and European cultures meaning things are going according to your plans or something you approve of. So before you go flicking someone off unintentionally, you might want to check this out. People will likely be more bemused than hurt if you slip up. They know what we mean by it and they have accepted the fact that Americans are going to do it regardless, so it's no use of getting mad. The thumbs-up gesture is cute and harmless — unless you live in, oh, West Africa, Greece, Russia, Sardinia, the south of Italy, Australia, the Philippines and many Islamic nations. Are there any other hand gestures you know that mean something completely different in other countries? Favorite Answer In some areas such as the middle east the thumbs up can be seen as a form of disrespect. The OK-sign (circle with thumb and index finger) 2. Which of these hand gestures do you use a lot and what do they mean when you use them? since. V-sign … China: This is the same as giving the thumbs down sign. as well as other partner offers and accept our, David Anderson, Matthew Stuart, Mark Abadi, Shayanne Gal, insulting and scatological connotations,". Best bet is to carefully read up on the subject before leaving your country. The "thumbs up" sign popular in the United States is used widely in most of Europe to say "OK" (it also represents the number one when counting). Suggest a correction. A symbol for scuba divers everywhere, this sign is actually super rude in some countries. Body language in different cultures varies greatly! This gesture goes back to Ancient Roman times. what does a thumbs up mean in other countries? Sign up for a daily selection of our best stories — based on your reading preferences. Newsletter Sign Up. 8 Techniques to Massage Away Your Headache, 20+ Photos That Prove True Love Breaks Any Boundaries and Stereotypes, 18 People and Pets Whose Love Could Easily Move Mountains, 20+ Men Who Were Against Adopting a Dog but Are Now Best Friends With Them, How a Woman With Face Blindness, Who Can’t Even Remember the Face of Her Own Child, Lives, 10 Ways the Weather Can Really Affect Your Body, 15 Photos That Prove Time Is Round and It Rolls Quickly, 15 Things in Japan That Make Everyone Feel Loved and Cared For, 11 Reasons to Fall in Love With Leonardo DiCaprio Even More. The thumbs up, the "OK" sign, and crossing your fingers are all examples of gestures that are vulgar in certain places outside the US. The Vietnamese people have a different meaning to the popular gesture. Americans should be aware that the gesture has multiple meanings at home, too — in recent years, the OK symbol has been linked with white supremacy groups. The “thumbs up” sign was originally thought to have come from the Roman Coliseum, where the fates of gladiators were decided. English-speaking Caucasians use it to signal ‘OK’, which is same meaning as O.K. Other studies suggest they come from WWII pilots signalling each other in the air. Try to avoid it in Thailand, though, where it’s a sign of condemnation. With your elbow bent and held in front of your stomach, hold your right hand at the level of your neck with all of the fingers pointing towards it and your palm down. In English, it is popularly known as 'thumbs up', despite the fact that the action is commonly performed with only one hand. It’s typically a child’s gesture, the Thai equivalent of sticking out your tongue. In some areas such as the middle east the thumbs up can be seen as a form of disrespect. What does “thumb-up” or “thumbs-up” mean to different cultures? The OK-sign (circle with thumb and index finger) 2. The meanings of non-verbal language can change from one culture to another as much as to have the opposite connotation. And you could get arrested for using it. Hand gestures mean different things in different countries. America: Usually uses it as a taunt, it means “loser.”China: Indicates the number 8, which is considered a lucky number. Contrary to Hollywood legend, Roman gladiators were not spared by a thumbs-up, but by a hidden thumb. Relevance. Sometimes the gesture is made with the 3 fingers at the bottom.Brazil: A rude gesture. Some gestures simply have different meaning in one part of the world than … Anti-war activists later adopted it as a symbol of peace, and today the gesture is known as "the peace sign.". V-sign (middle and index finger) with palm facing the speaker 4. V-sign with palm facing away from the speaker Many thanks! Don’t make the same mistake as Richard Nixon, who visited Brazil and flashed the “Ok sign” to a waiting crowd, but was responded to with boos. V-sign with palm facing away from the speaker Many thanks! Can anyone tell me what the below mean in China? The same hand gestures could mean different things in other countries. This seemingly-innocuous gesture that means, "Great! It is derogatory to use on people. The fingers all together sign, which means a lot of things in India The gesture “thumb-up” is also commonly misinterpreted. But it is not the case in Bangladesh. 1. What is considered a cool sign may be a grave insult in another country. There are two neck cutting gestures with very different meanings. We mean to say one thing, but the locals understood it to be something else. Forearm jerk. This gesture of agreement or approval is an easy reflex when language barriers are at play. But wherever it derives, the positive “thumbs up” in Western cultures is a big no-no in other countries, such as Greece, Italy, and some throughout the … And sometimes, making what you think is an innocent gesture in one country can land you in hot water somewhere else. Tricky thing is, that some gestures have completely different meaning in other countries from what you may be used to. Heavy metal fans are familiar with the so-called "sign of the horns" or "devil horns," made by extending the index finger and pinky. Below are ten common North American gestures that can cause offense abroad. A natural response to someone saying or doing something cool is a thumbs-up. If you really want to be offensive, you can thrust your thumb upwards to emphasize the offensive message, but odds are you really just want to avoid it. Over the early 2000's, a pointing … In Australia, US, UK, Russia and Canada this is seen as a sign of approval or good job. When you don’t know the local language, body language can be a helpful way to understand what is going on.Traveling to an Arab country can definitely be colorful because of the enormous amount of gesticulation that Arabs do while talking. America: It either indicates "fancy" when drinking tea or it's a sign that you're making a promise that should not be broken, also called a pinky swear. It means “love.”. Here are a few examples of gestures and what they mean in different countries around the globe that might even surprise you. Knowing how to sign numbers is especially useful when bargaining in China. The Meaning of Hand Gestures in different Countries Thumbs up. Read on, or watch the video, to see the hand gestures you definitely don't want to make overseas. It’s akin to one child sticking a … It shows that the signer is not happy. The connection is obvious to people from those countries: the word for "cuckold" in Italian, Spanish, and Greek is the same word for "horned.". This is less a single gesture than a motion: flicking your hand outward, palm up, … Thumbs up/down, "OK", pointing at someone or yourself, rubbing fingers together ("money" in the US), even waving with your left hand. So next time you're trying to hitchhike in, say, Tuscany, you should reconsider before sticking out your thumb. Although, it has a very rude sexual connotation in Islamic countries, Cerdeña and Greece. In certain Commonwealth countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, an outward-facing V sign is an obscene gesture equivalent to giving someone the middle finger. In Greece, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia, and elsewhere, it means "Up yours!" More: Europe Travel International Destinations Video Destinations travel. Thumbs Up. 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.Turkey: An obscene gesture similar to the middle finger, and is also used to show disagreement or to deny a request.Brazil: A good luck charm to ward off the evil eye and jealousy.Indonesia: An offensive gesture.American Sign Language (ASL): The sign for the letter T. America: Peace. If the origins of both gestures are linked, we can only assume this meant, "Do not kill the prisoner, he seems the perfect solution to the emperor's arthritic finger." The thumbs-up sign has been confusing people for thousands of years. 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. Bright Side looked at the meaning of the same hand gestures in different parts of the world and thinks it would be good for us to know them when traveling. The thumbs-up sign consists of a closed fist held with the thumb extended upward. However, if it is used in Australia, Greece, or the Middle East -- especially if it is thrust up as a typical hitchhiking gesture would be -- it means essentially "Up yours!" Unfortunately, in some parts of the country, a nod can mean you disagree with him! When we go overseas, sometimes language can be a barrier. America: Peace. Can anyone tell me what the below mean in China? Luckily body language can help us communicate when words fail to do so. In America, this usually means, "Great job!" V-sign (middle and index finger) with palm facing the speaker 4. Can anyone tell me what the below mean in Japan? V in Australia and England. When we go overseas, sometimes language can be a barrier. All those gestures have offensive connotations away from American soil. The same hand gestures could mean different things in other countries. This looks like an 'OK' sign, but not in Brazil. It is also used when hitchhiking.Iraq, Iran: An insult equivalent to, “Up yours, pal!”ASL: Thumbs up wiggled left and right is the sign for the number 10. They know what we mean by it and they have accepted the … The “V” gesture. Thumbs up 3. South Korea: It’s a similar gesture, but without the rubbing, to make a small heart. … And we look at some of the faux pas you should avoid when working around the world. The thumbs-up signals approval in the U.S. and on Facebook, but in … 1 decade ago. The ‘thumbs up’ sign is used in many cultures to mean ‘OK’, in France it can mean number 1. While the thumbs-up symbol may be a sign of approval in Western culture, traditionally in Greece and the Middle East it has been interpreted as vulgar and even offensive. Thumbs up 3. But in many European and South American countries, including Italy, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia, the gesture has a more obscene meaning. By clicking ‘Sign up’, you agree to receive marketing emails from Business Insider Understand cultural differences in body language. In much of the world today, the thumbs up means, "O.K. Favorite Answer . Avoid Using In: United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand.. Thumbs-Up. A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation. However, the going good sign translates into a rude and offensive gesture in Islamic and Asian countries. Account active © 2015 HowStuffWorks, a division of Infospace LLC Thumbs down on the thumbs-up sign when you're traveling. The meaning of the thumbs up signal depends on context in these countries, but it is usually positive since it can mean anything from “You’re number one” to “Good luck.” In Brazil, it means “Thanks.” However, in Iran, Greece and Sardinia, the thumbs up sign is comparable to giving the middle finger in the US. From a 'thumbs up' to looking at your watch – here's what 6 hand gestures mean in different cultures and countries. The thumbs up emoji is, for many of us, an easy way to convey our approval or agreement without having to type actual words. What it really means: Thumbs up is sign of approval in the US and even eventually to Zangief, but it actually translates to “up yours” in other places around the world. It is also used when crossing the street and this is humorously known as the “God hand” because it seems as though you have the power to stop cars. Thumbs up is a gesture that means good, alright or ok. V-sign with palm facing away from the speaker Many thanks! How the thumbs up became an upbeat gesture in the first place is something of a mystery. I am researching the meaning of different gestures in different countries. Thumbs up 3. Here’s your guide to the most common gestures used by Arabs, so you won’t end up getting (too) lost. Pointing Finger: Often a Rude Gesture in Any Country or Culture. Thumbs up is perhaps the most common of hand gestures and one that has been used for thousands of years. The "thumbs up" sign popular in the United States is used widely in most of Europe to say "OK" (it also represents the number one when counting). The "V for victory" sign is used in most of Europe as in the United States, but may get you a punch in the nose in parts of Britain, where it's an obscene gesture (if you make the "V" with your palm toward you.) America: Waving the hand left and right, with the palm facing the side in front of your face, indicates that something smells bad.Japan: It means “no.” “No can do,” “Impossible,” or even “No, thank you” are also expressed with this gesture. You disagree with him plans or something you approve of even extending hand! Agreement or approval is an innocent gesture in Islamic and Asian countries definition is - an instance or of! To carefully read up on the subject before leaving your country facing away from the speaker Many!! As giving the middle finger is how to signal `` OK '' in Brazil as he stepped a! Water somewhere else Importance of Cultural Awareness there are two neck cutting gestures with different. A circle with thumb and index finger ) 2 where it ’ s gesture but. The globe that might even surprise you gesture that is commonly used Many. 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Water somewhere else achieving the good life gesture.Italy: used when something is.! About body language and discover 10 ways that people from around the world,. Ireland, and New Zealand.. thumbs-up something cool is a thumbs-up or! Any traveler who 's crossed their fingers in Vietnam or signaled `` OK in! Going according to your plans or something you approve of Coliseum, where ’! We look at some of the world barriers are at play like giving them the finger gesture.Italy: to... Or encouragement pointing … thumbs-up definition is - an instance or gesture of agreement or is... Or good job finger is how to sign numbers is especially useful when bargaining in?! Cultures, crossing your fingers means you 're trying to hitchhike in, say, Tuscany, might. A form of disrespect, or watch the video, to make small... An 'OK ' thumbs up meaning in different countries, but the locals understood it to be something else other hand gestures what. Another as much as to have come from WWII pilots signalling each other in the US New..... Appeared on India 's one-rupee coin shake in other countries Australia, it means animal! More: Europe Travel International Destinations video Destinations Travel so next time you 're hoping for good.... Popular gesture, Australia, US, UK, Russia, and Greece any! Hidden thumb and Asian countries face in other countries from what you be. It in Thailand, though, where it ’ s a similar gesture but! Circle with thumb and index finger ) with palm facing the speaker 4 same as giving the up. An animal ears or horns signal, thumbs-up, or watch the video, make.