10 common hand gestures that used to mean something different (2023)

80to share

many people studiedbody languagefiguring out what a person is saying non-verbally through unconscious gestures or movements. Facial expressions and the way someone holds their body serve to tell us what a person really means, even if it contradicts that person's words.

One area of ​​body language is not that difficult to interpret. In fact, the meaning of some hand gestures seems quite simple, like the infamous middle finger. Interestingly, most hand gestures never had the offensive, neutral, or positive meaning they have today. Many have changed their meaning so much that you might be surprised by their origins.

10middle finger

10 common hand gestures that used to mean something different (1)

The infamous middle finger is one of the most offensive hand gestures out there. It can mean anything from fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, shove it up your ass. The sign meant none of that when it first appeared.Ancient Greece. However, the meaning was not better. It was used to ridicule a man who was being penetrated during gay sex.

The Greeks called the gesturecomplacency. The term spread to ancient Latin, where it was namedshameless finger("sassy, ​​indecent, or abusive fingering"). Around 1700, the gesture meant sexual intercourse or penis. When depicting a penis, the fingers on either side of the erect finger represented the testicles.[1]

Italianimmigrantintroduced the gesture to the United States in the 19th century. It was at this time that it acquired its modern meaning. The gesture became popular, replacing the scream as a way to demonstrate dissatisfaction with a person.


10 common hand gestures that used to mean something different (2)

The origin of the greeting is somewhat obscure. One theory states that it first appeared in ancient Rome whensoldiersthey raised their hands to greet other soldiers. This is disputed because there is no evidence that Roman soldiers raised their hands in salute.

Another theory states that the gesture originated in medieval Europe when he was fully clothed.Ritterthey lifted their visors with one hand to show their kindness to the approaching horsemen. This idea is also controversial. A third undisputed theory is that British soldiers created the salute.

Prior to the 18th century, British soldiers doffed their hats to high-ranking soldiers. This became an issue in the 17th century when British soldiers started wearing elaborate hats. The younger soldiers started waving their hats to greet the older soldiers, because removing the hat was a chore. The British Army later formalized the gesture, transforming it into the salute we know today.

However, unlike the US military, who salute with the palms facing downwards, British soldiers salute with the palms facing upwards. This is because the American military salute is based on the British naval salute. The British Navy uses a palm-down salute because seafarers often have dirty palms.[2]


10 common hand gestures that used to mean something different (3)

Ahandshakeis the most common hand gesture there is. As with other common hand gestures, its origin is somewhat controversial. Many agree that the handshake started hundreds of years ago when men walked around with guns.

Men in close contact shook his right hand to show they didn't have it.waffenon them. They even waved their hands up and down, as we do today, to drop weapons hidden in their sleeves.

Another likely origin indicates that the gesture may have started as a sign to seal an oath or promise. An artifact from the 9th century BC. it even shows King Shalmaneser III. of Assyria shaking hands with the king of Babylon to seal their alliance.

Anyway, the Quakers were the first to use the handshake as a form of greeting. In the 17th century, Quakers adopted the handshake because they feared that bowing the head or removing the hat did not show equality.[3]

7fingers crossed

10 common hand gestures that used to mean something different (4)

Crossed fingers are used for good luck or to indicate a pre-planned lie or trick to avoid one.promise. Its origin is controversial, which is not surprising, as its dual use could indicate two different origins. Some say the gesture first appeared in pre-Christian Europe.

Europe was full ofsuperstitionIn that time. A popular superstition held that good spirits dwelt at the intersections of crosses. If two people made wishes while making a single cross with their index fingers, they believed that good spirits would be inclined to grant their wishes.

Others say the gesture came about after Christianity arrived in Europe. Christians were persecuted at that time, so they created various secret symbols, such as the cross, to identify them. At that time, two people created the cross symbol differently. They all made an "L" sign with their thumb and forefinger. Then they crossed index fingers with thumbs touching.

Whatever the correct explanation, the gesture became commonplace in the 14th century, when soldiers fighting in the Hundred Years' War would cross their fingers for luck and protection. Soldiers made the cross with two fingers because sometimes it was impossible to make the symbol with another soldier.[4]

Due to the lying connotation of crossed fingers, it is believed that early Christians made the cross when telling a lie because it supposedly protected them from the wrath of God. At that time, the penalty for being a Christian was death. As a result, Christians often denied their faith to avoid being killed.

6sign of the horns

10 common hand gestures that used to mean something different (5)

The horn sign is a hand gesture with different meanings and uses in different cultures. It is formed by stretching the index and little fingers while pressing the middle and ring fingers with the thumb. In Italy the shield, when made with the "horns" pointing downwards, is used in the face of unfortunate events or to ward off bad luck or "evil eye.” CalledHorn, which means "horns". Also in Italy and other parts of the Mediterranean, pointing at a person and waving back and forth can be considered an offensive gesture. Therefore, it is a sign of betrayal.

It is also a sign in rock and roll culture. He first appeared on the album cover of a band called Coven and then on the cover of the Beatles album (Yellow Submarine). Made famous in the heavy metal scene by Ronnie James Dio. Dio claimed that it was not a sign from the devil, but a sign he learned from his Italian grandmother, a symbol to ward off the evil eye. Horns became popular at metal shows soon after.Die from Black Sabbathfirst tour with Dio. The sign was later appropriated by heavy metal fans.[5]

The "sign of the horns" is also associated with gang membership or Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). The meaning is both the resemblance of an inverted "devil's horn" to the Latin letter "M" and the broader demonic connotation of savagery and nonconformity.

The hand gesture is better known to everyone in Texas as the Hook 'em Horns signal from the University of Texas at Austin. The gesture is intended to approximate the shape of the head and horns of UT's mascot, Texas Longhorn Bevo. Other sports teams also use this gesture, or a slight variation, to represent their various mascots: bulls, bison, and devils.

The symbol was also described in Bram Stoker's book.dracula1897.

5signo v

10 common hand gestures that used to mean something different (6)

The V sign can have a different meaning depending on the location. The spanked version, common in the United States, is used to indicate peace or peace.I look for. The palm method, common in Great Britain, is considered an alternative version of the middle finger.

The origin of both signs is disputed and it is unclear if they share the same origin. Some believe that the gesture first appeared during theBattle of Agincourtbetween England and France in October 1415.

French soldiers hated the highly effective British archers so much that the French cut off two fingers of the captured British archers' hands. The fingers were the most important part of using a bow. Other archers recognized this and began pointing two fingers at the French soldiers as an insult.[6]

Another story shows that the V sign comes from the horn gesture made with the little and index fingers. The cuckold gesture was usually directed at the husband of an adulterous woman. Although derogatory, it was not considered a crime.

4thumbs up and thumbs down

10 common hand gestures that used to mean something different (7)

A thumbs up is aSymbolof approval A thumbs down shows disapproval. Both gestures come from the gladiator fights of ancient Rome. you were summonedthumbs down("Twiddling Thumbs") at the time.

At the end of the bloody fight, the referee was sometimes asked if anyone had been beaten and seriously injured.Gladiatormust be killed or spared. The referee addressed the spectators, who announced their decision with a thumbs up or thumbs down. A thumbs up meant the loser would be killed. A thumbs down (indicating "swords down") meant the loser was to be forgiven.[7]

3Closed fist

10 common hand gestures that used to mean something different (8)

the concentrateFaustoIt is the ultimate symbol of solidarity. It was used by the oppressed, resistance and political groups to show solidarity, defiance, struggle, triumph, resistance and power. Most Americans will be surprised to learn that the gesture is actually a communist symbol.

The clenched fist first appeared during the Spanish Civil War between the Fascists and thecommunists. Fascists used an open palm salute as their symbol. In search of their own symbol, communists chose the clenched fist.

Communists soon used the symbol to show they weren't weak. Unlike the open palm, which represents a palm, four weak fingers and a thumb, the clenched fist represents four weak fingers and a thumb turned into a powerful fist. Later, other communist groups adopted the symbol and it soon spread to civil rights groups and the anti-colonial opposition.[8]

2shaka's sign

10 common hand gestures that used to mean something different (9)

In the shaka sign, the little finger and thumb point upwards while the other fingers rest on the palm. is popular inhawaiiwhere it is usually accompanied by the greeting "Shaka, brah!". It means everything from hello to goodbye, thank you, take it easy, quiet, take your time, and it's okay.

The origin of Shaka's sign is disputed. Two stories attribute its beginnings to a Hawaiian named Hamana Kalili. While both versions agree that Kalili lost three fingers from his right hand, one claims that he unknowingly created the gesture when using his right hand to bless a person.[9]

The second version states that Kalili initiated the gesture when she used her hand to push away children who were trying to jump on trains. Other sources say the gesture was first used by a surfer who had three fingers ripped off by one.Of the.

A fourth explanation holds that the signal was used by the first Spaniards to land in Hawaii. The Spaniards would have made the gesture towards the natives, but they put their thumb to their lips. It showed that they were friendly and didn't mind sharing a drink with the natives.

1vulcan greeting

10 common hand gestures that used to mean something different (10)

Photo author:moviezine.se

HevolcanoThe salute is similar to the V sign, except it is performed with four fingers from the same hand. When all of the fingers on that hand are initially together, the middle and ring fingers separate to form the letter V. The Vulcan salute is considered a V salute by fans.Star TrekSeries and people who simply love science fiction.

Leonard Nimoy first used the Vulcan salute when he guest-starred on a 1967 episode of Mr. Spock.Star Trek. It was originally a greeting among members of the Vulcan race on the show, meaning "live long and prosper". The gesture was created by Nimoy who wanted Vulcans to have a unique greeting.[10]

Nimoy borrowed the Vulcan greeting from a similar Jewish gesture that represented the Hebrew letter.cinnamon, the first letter of "Mr." Jewish priests may use the gesture to bless people during services that Nimoy attended when he was younger.

Read more interesting stories about body language25 examples of body languageY10 common facial expressions explained.

More great lists

  • 10 things people get wrong in hand-to-hand combat
  • 10 Great Romantic Gestures With Art You've Never Heard Of
  • 10 Weird Gestures from Around the World Explained
  • 10 funerals for more than humans
  • 10 cruel murders of "Mean Girls".
  • 10 Murderers Who Used Their Genius IQ For Evil
  • 10 dangerous fashions and medical treatments used...
  • 10 Weird Things That Used To Be Taxed
  • 10 amazing new techniques used to do science...

fact verified byJaime Frater

80to share

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kieth Sipes

Last Updated: 03/01/2023

Views: 6012

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kieth Sipes

Birthday: 2001-04-14

Address: Suite 492 62479 Champlin Loop, South Catrice, MS 57271

Phone: +9663362133320

Job: District Sales Analyst

Hobby: Digital arts, Dance, Ghost hunting, Worldbuilding, Kayaking, Table tennis, 3D printing

Introduction: My name is Kieth Sipes, I am a zany, rich, courageous, powerful, faithful, jolly, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.