In France, this gesture is known as la barbe (”the beard”) and is the hand-sign equivalent of macho grandstanding. In the U.S. we use it to convey agreement and compliance. There's the "single-digit salute" favored by punk rockers and rebellious celebrities. To draw attention to something. It is a crime to threaten someone with physical harm if you seem to have the means and intent to cause the threatened harm. We promise you that the last place you want to end up on your vacation is inside a Philippine prison. In many areas of the world pointing something out with your finger is considered incredibly vulgar and it is best to avoid doing this altogether wherever you are. Thumbing your nose at someone (childish insult). To be even more over the top and childish, you can also do the same thing with two hands. Three-fingered salute. It can also be done with one hand “speaking” into your own ear, which can have the even more aggressive meaning of “(Stop nagging). As with the gestures for two and the V sign above, this means it is very easy for foreign people to make the wrong gesture and so unknowingly offend someone. Crossed arms. This usually means “I/ You/ He choked”, meaning got too nervous and messed something up, e.g. complete disagreement with what a politician has just said in their speech. Most people assume that nodding your head is the universal sign for “yes” and shaking your head is the sign for “no.” But in Greece and Bulgaria, these actions are reversed. In Vietnam, crossing your fingers, as we would in the U.S. to wish for luck, depicts a woman’s genitalia and is considered extremely insulting if aimed at another person. Giving someone the finger can be considered an obscene gesture in some parts of the USA. Peace Sign With Palm Facing Inward. Hold up your right fist with the back of your hand facing the other person and raise just your middle finger. learning English. Mime shooting yourself in the head with your index finger and middle finger as the barrel of the gun and your thumb as the hammer. Often used in terms of a person blaming something else. Offensive, insulting and aggressive gestures in the UK, 100 common mistakes with starting and ending emails, A guide to rude, offensive, insulting and taboo gestures for EFL learners, How to use body language and gestures in EFL classes, The big list of classroom language with gestures, How to teach international body language and gestures, Teaching pronunciation through body language and gestures, Using body language and gestures to teach grammar, British and American body language and gestures, Teaching English Using Games & Activities. It is similar to telling someone to step outside. Like every nationality that I know, the British naturally shrug their shoulders when they don’t know something. Slapping your fist. grammar, spelling and punctuation, through to language teaching, 8. You then either twist that finger round and round in circles (as if you were drawing a small circle on the side of your head) or tap your skull a few times. If you have a question about the English language and would like to ask one of our many English teachers and language experts, please click the button below to let us know: Summary: Rude British gestures and other body language that could cause offense in the United Kingdom. This gesture should only be used very jokingly or with caution, because it basically means that person was too stupid to understand or notice. Possibly one of the oldest hand gestures still in use, it dates all the way back to ancient Byzantium, when criminals were chained to donkeys and paraded through the streets, where locals would rub their own feces onto the prisoner. A pointing index finger raised upwards is used in Islam as an affirming gesture of Tawhid though it has been also used in more political contexts, particularly by groups more extremist in ideology such as ISIS. This is much less likely to be done accidentally, but twisting an index finger around near the side of your head also means “crazy”. teaching and reference resources. terms, irregular verbs, phrasal verbs and idioms. But whether the driver sees or not, you'd have already let off some of your steam. 1. Middle finger/ Giving someone the finger (offensive gesture). Like the Devil Himself, the middle finger bears many names and adopts many guises. Even spitting at someone is assault, but not everyone would have you arrested. The latest e-books providing you with interactive classroom activities. In the U.S. we use it to convey agreement and compliance. In fact, people rely more heavily on hand gestures and body language when in situations where they are unable to verbally interact with someone. Normal signs indicate this behavior. The other fingers should be folded down so the other person can just see the letter W. “Whatever” means “I don’t care about what you are saying”, for example if someone has just insulted you or given an excuse for something bad that they did. This word can mean that the other person lost at a game or sport, but it can also mean that they did something that was a waste of time, not cool, etc, for example playing computer games all Friday night instead of going clubbing. Pointing. Take the OK sign — the simple hand signal where you put your thumb and first finger together to create a circular shape. Copyright © 2002 - 2021 UsingEnglish.com Ltd. 3. career development, specialisations, and ideas and suggestions for This gesture is almost always said accompanied by the words “Speak to the hand” (usually with as fake an American as possible), as otherwise it could be taken to mean “Hold on”. Pointing fingers while talking means he/she is aggressive by nature. and quizzes, PDF lesson plans, teacher articles and a directory of Learning English This article goes through the most common rude gestures in the UK, starting with ones which are least likely to be understood by people from other countries. Perhaps because of that, saluting almost always have an ironic or even aggressive meaning in the UK. Even if you don't mean anything negative by it, pointing at someone or something with only one finger is considered very rude and impolite in parts of the Middle East. You can also bring down the hammer, show the gun shooting back and/ or make a “pow” noise to make the meaning of the action clearer. In Russia, shaking hands, or doing pretty much anything else, over a threshold is considered extremely unlucky. 3. This gesture is fairly neutral if it is aimed at yourself (“Why did I say such a stupid thing? By: Alex Case | Feet are seen as unclean and the lowest point of the body. If adults use this gesture it can seem quite immature and so reflect at least as badly on the person making the gesture as on the person being gestured about. Our online discussion forums are the perfect place to quickly get help 2. 15. 9. It's also known as "the bird," a poor symbolic avian that is endlessly "flipped" and "flicked. Even if you never leave home without your trusty phrase book, communication is as much about nonverbal cues as it is about talking. Pull it straight along your lips, touching them all the way, until it reaches the extreme right of your mouth. See full dictionary entry for finger COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. In some places, gestures that we use on a daily basis in the U.S. to portray positive emotion or agreement, for example, might mean something highly offensive in a foreign land. Always bend slightly when meeting or greeting an Indonesian older than you or in a position of authority. Learning a new language can be hard work, so here are 70 practical tips for improving your English that you can do outside of school or collage. Or the "expressway digit," a remarkable single-sign code by which California drivers communicate their complex emotions. It is therefore usually used in reaction to something that the other person has done or said, for example if they won and you lost, if they got something which you didn’t, if they knew something that you got wrong, or if they thumbed their nose at you (see above). In fact, this gesture is deemed so bad that you can actually get arrested for using it. 7. This represents zipping closed your mouth, like closing the zip on a bag etc, and can sometimes be accompanied by the very aggressive phrase “Zip it!”. | Category: Often in criminal law, why you do something matters just as much (if not more) than what you do. 2. It's swearing, so if you did it to a police officer, you'd be committing an offence. It will not get you a positive reaction in most parts of southern Europe or Brazil, and it’s used commonly by soccer fans wanting to send an offensive message to the fans of the opposing team. Learn more. Given how insulting this is, it is obviously mainly used about people rather than directly towards those people, for example when reporting a conversation (“And then he said I needed to think about my future, blah, blah, blah” etc). Section 172 (Duty to give information as to identity of driver etc in certain circumstances.) The chin flick. The W from “whatever” is made with the thumbs and index fingers of both hands, with the thumbs touching each other at an angle. To make the ironic meaning more obvious, you could make a much more florid salute, finishing with your palm facing the other person, and/ or say “Yes sir/ ma’am” as you salute the other person. is, in essence, a finger-pointing provision. excellent online English training course. “Speak to the hand (because the face don’t want to know)” means “I have no interest in what you are saying”. Crossing your fingers. Some people would ignore it, but others would want to make an example of this sort of action. Pointing your feet towards someone. Put the tip of your thumb on the tip of your nose and move your four fingers up and down randomly and independently from each other, as if you are playing a trumpet. Submit an article about any area of the English language for publication on our web site. It is the hand-sign alternative of calling someone the c-word. All rights reserved. links to online dictionaries. You show the other person the letter L from the word “loser” with the thumb and index finger of your right hand on your forehead, with the thumb horizontal and the index finger vertical. Perhaps while making a “whoosh” sound like a plane flying over your head, move an open hand over the top of your head, close to but not touching it. 14. Screw up your face in a frown. “Right” and “left” below always mean for the person doing the gesture (not for the person viewing it). 17. She'll say that she doesn't blame anyone, but I know that, in her heart, she points the finger at me. English language reference including definitions of English grammar Look up as far as you can and perhaps make your eyes actually roll around by looking top left and top right. In Turkey, that sign is also an insult toward gay people. 5. 3. A serious military salute (meaning putting your hand up to your forehead and back down again like a soldier greeting an officer) is something that most British people have never done in their lives. For example, if someone in the crowd at a football match uses the middle finger towards supporters of the other team, it means something like “If you were here, I’d hit you” or “I’ll kill you for what you just chanted”. | Topic: Varieties and Dialects, First Published: 4th Oct. 2016 English language resources for English learners and teachers to help Pointing with index finger may be used to indicate an item or person. Fairly self-explanatory. This is the action of punching your fist into your elbow joint while raising the other fist up in front of you. | Last Edited: 25th Jan. 2019. You have to be quite careful how and when you use a finger in front of your lips to mean “hush”, as it is a bit too direct in many situations. Pinch together the thumb and index finger of your right hand and place it at the left edge of your closed mouth. Crossing your arms in front of you is considered a huge sign of arrogance in Finland. It often has the connotation that the person who gave the order doesn’t really have the authority to do so or that they should have asked you more politely, like saying “Who made you the boss?” or “I’ll do it, but I’ll get you back for it later”. Therefore, you can be arrested on obscenity charges, depending on where you raise your fateful finger. finger-pointing synonyms, finger-pointing pronunciation, finger-pointing translation, English dictionary definition of finger-pointing. Looking at someone the wrong way can be interpreted as disrespectful. In parts of the Arab world, the gesture is considered highly offensive, its impact is equivalent to the middle-finger in the West. you study, learn and teach English including text analysis, language Make a kind of empty tube from your thumb and your fingers of your right hand, with your index finger and thumb making a circle and all the other fingers curved under your index finger, like a fist with a gap in the middle. The gesture for “Don’t forget”, also involves tapping your head, but with the finger on the right side of your forehead rather than on your temples, and with the finger more vertical. Blow above and around your tongue so that the air makes a rude noise, similar to a farting sound (=letting off wind from your bottom). He said he wasn't pointing an accusing finger at anyone in the government or the army. This sign will likely get you ejected from any place of business and not welcomed back. Keep pointing, scolding and hope the driver can see you cursing and swearing from his/her rear view mirror. The offensive version of this has your palm facing yourself, meaning the back of your hand is facing the other person. This is a fairly obviously a sign for “wanker”, which literally has the sexual meaning of a man who masturbates. That was never going to work”). Includes tests, a question bank, quizzes, language polls and more. If you point the finger at someone or point an accusing finger at someone, you blame them or accuse them of doing wrong. Without moving your arm, move your hand up and down. This is a clear indication that he/she is aggressive by nature. Horns. It dates back more than 2,500 years and signifies a bull’s horns. “Loser”, “Whatever” and “Speak to the hand” gestures. He depersonalized Monica by saying, “she,” than self-correcting to say Monica’s name. In Thailand, the raised arm with three fingers extended (like the gesture used in The Hunger Games) was outlawed after it became a symbol of opposition to the country’s military coup in 2012. from students and teaching forum topics. This makes the V sign like a reverse “peace sign”, with the hand turned around. Hold up an open right hand with fingers pointing up and your little finger towards the other person. Put your hands around your neck with your hands crossed as if you are trying to strangle yourself, then put out your tongue and roll your eyes as if you are dying. © 2021 Shermans Travel. A thumb towards your mouth from out of your fist, perhaps with your little finger pointing out in the opposite direction, can just mean “(alcoholic) drink”, as in “Shall we go out for a quick drink?” However, it can also mean “He is/ She is/ You are drunk” or even “He is/ She is/ You are an alcoholic”, particularly if you move your head from side to side and or roll your eyes while you pretend to drink from your thumb. (I can’t believe you have messed this up again)” or “You’ve really put me in a difficult position”, but sometimes also at yourself as in “I can’t believe I did that”, similar to the face palm above. It consists of making a V shape by holding up one hand with your middle finger and index finger held apart from each other and with the other fingers and thumb down. In contrast, the V sign at a soccer match means something more like the challenge “Come over here if you think you’re hard enough”, “Ha ha ha, you’ll have to do better than that chant if you want to offend us”, or “Ha ha, you can’t get us even if you wanted to (because of the row of police between us)”. Feet gestures. The fig. Standing with this posture in a bar is likely to get you into a fight. Resist the urge to give yourself a pedicure in public, or you might be faced with some angry locals. This means “What an obviously stupid thing to say or do”, often aimed at yourself (as in “I can’t believe I just did that”) but sometimes at other people (as in “You idiot. users, with no obligation to buy) - and receive a level assessment! 16. Slapping your palms together as you move them up and down, like getting rid of some dust from them, can have the positive meaning of having successfully finished something. 6. The moutza. The placement of your fingers to show horns, usually known as the symbol for “rock on,” has a different meaning in Spain, Greece, and Italy — where it is called the “corna” and is considered a suggestive gesture made to a man to imply that his wife is cheating on him. His finger is crooked rather than straight showing a lack of his own conviction. In France, slapping the palm of your hand over your other fist is seen as an aggressive gesture that suggests you want to beat up the person it’s aimed at. It is possible for a civil claim to be brought, and/or a private prosecution. This can be used against yourself to mean “Sorry, I completely missed that”, but is much common against or about other people. As per the Federal Penal Law, deportation has been compulsory against those found guilty of flashing their middle finger in public for several years now. In Greece, Mexico, the Middle East, and Africa, the action of raising your open hand, palm out, with spread fingers in front of someone is a serious sign of displeasure. In Austria, shaking two fists in front of you is a way of wishing someone good luck. The item of legislation was added to the Penal Code in the 1930s. However, there is also a stronger, more aggressive gesture, basically meaning “Shut up”. Hold both hands in front of you at about rib height, with the fingers of each hand pointing towards the other hand and the thumb under the fingers. The naughtiness of the topic can also make them more interested and aware of the topic of cultural differences in body language and gestures generally. I’d rather kill myself than listen to any more”, etc. including advice, tutorials, opinions and lesson plans from various He is pointing one way and looking another, which is a lack of congruence in his thoughts and actions. Includes helpful articles, a glossary, quizzes, and a large language reference. Section 377A is a Singaporean law criminalising sex between consenting male adults. (1) Every person commits an offence who, without lawful excuse, points a firearm at another person, whether the firearm is loaded or unloaded. Test your knowledge of the English language. These three gestures are fairly well recognised in the UK but are considered to be outdated and to have only ever been seriously used by American teenagers, so they are mostly used in a jokey way and/ or with the words said with an over-the-top Californian Valley Girl accent. Like those phrases, the gesture is most often used by teenagers about adults, especially their parents. n. The act of blaming someone for something; the imputation of blame. If you wish to highlight something, indicate it with an open palm. Long before pun… the classroom. 2. Brushing the back of your hand underneath your chin in a flicking motion means “get lost” in Belgium, northern Italy, and Tunisia. Download our compiled lists of idioms - perfect to use offline for reference or for use in class! It is mainly used by kids, but adults sometimes use it ironically, for example if I finally got to work before you and so got the best desk by the window. Hand shakes. The cutis. authors and contributors. You are obviously never going to be able to do this/ You are obviously too stupid to understand”. Aggravated assault is a specific type of assault that occurs when someone commits assault and actually intends to cause serious bodily harm or succeeds in causing serious bodily harm. This is the closest thing to a specifically British gesture, being used in only a couple of other countries and being misunderstood and misused even by Americans. However, you are advised to consider mediation (especially community mediation) instead of litigation. Some countries, including England, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa, consider an outward-facing V-sign (AKA a peace sign) as giving someone the middle finger. It can also have the related but less physical meaning of “Insult me/ my idea as much as you like, I can take it”. As with the gestures for two and the V sign above, this means it is very easy for foreign people to make the wrong gesture and so unknowingly offend someone. point the finger at (one) To indicate that one is guilty of (doing) something; to blame or accuse one of (doing) something. my brother was shot by a man on 10/2/17 in the eye. However, it can be used ironically with friends and colleagues (perhaps saying “Dad!” and/ or one of the phrases above in a suitably over-the-top embarrassed teenager way) or perhaps behind someone’s back about them (rather than directly towards them). Its meaning is something like “f**k you” or “f**k off”, making it similar in offensiveness to the more internationally known “middle finger” gesture explained below. This depends on various facts, including the circumstances, the intent and the nature of the statements. So aside from keeping your hands firmly in your pockets while you are traveling, what can you do to ensure that you don’t insult the locals or end up in a bar brawl? Flicking your thumb from the back of your upper front teeth toward someone is seriously nasty in India and Pakistan and simply means “f*** you.” Very nice. In addition to the UsingEnglish.com team of staff All explanations are for right-handed people, but changing hands doesn’t change the meaning. Move the thumbs up and down, so that it looks like two ducks quacking. I wish I could just die on the spot”) or life generally (“Three hours with just one student again. It’s nothing more than the raising of a finger in somebody else’s general direction, yet, for almost everyone, it immediately expresses a huge range of emotions, including hatred, contempt, and anger. “The Bird,” “The Finger,” “Half of a Peace Sign,” “The Freeway Salute.” Whatever you call it, it’s a strange thing. This gesture and sound has a range of related meanings in English, usually meaning something like “It’s not fair”, “I envy you” or “I don’t care”. If you want to learn English grammar or grow your vocabulary then these resources will help you with your studies. So pointing a gun at someone can get you into trouble, but how much trouble will often depend on why you were pointing the gun and at whom.. teachers and language experts ready to answer your questions 24 hours a This is not a speeding offence though the request for information related to a vehicle alleged to have been speeding. This can have the positive meaning of “Okay, you win the argument” or the fairly neutral meaning of “This is too difficult for me”, but it can also have the quite insulting meaning of “I give up with you. Especially in Buddhist countries such as Thailand, feet are considered dirty and so the soles should not be pointed towards people, statues of Buddha, etc. This has the opposite meaning of complete disapproval of what you have just heard, e.g. It is a teasing or provoking gesture, like a very mild version of the V sign. UsingEnglish.com is partnering with Gymglish to give you a free one-month trial of this In the Philippines, using your hand to make a “come here” gesture is one of the most offensive things you can do. Articles cover topics from English The court should determine the offence category with reference only to the factors listed in the tables below. Aggravated assault is usually committed with a dangerous weapon. The gesture is made by putting up a palm facing the other person and turning your head to one side. A clenched fist with your thumb between your first and second fingers means “screw you” (to put it mildly) in Turkey, Russia, and Indonesia. Resources and materials for ESL teachers including free ESL handouts So what is obscene in Cinncinnati (which has strict anti-obscenity laws), may be legal in Los Angeles. For example, if someone drives aggressively and dangerously near you on the motorway, the middle finger would mean something like “If we weren’t in cars, I would hit you”, whereas the shuffling fist would probably mean “You are acting like a selfish idiot, you should be embarrassed/ you should be ashamed of yourself”. Whereas the repealed s 5 o the Public Order Act 1936 (replaced by Public Order Act 1986, s 4) was considered the lowest-level public order offence prior to the 1986 Act, the offence a presentation, job interview or conversation with someone who you find attractive. Also provides access to questions The item remained part of the Singapore body of law after the Penal Code review of October 2007 that removed most … However, it is also used against other people, meaning “Seriously, again?”, “I can’t believe I have to listen to you talking about that again. Please note that it is difficult to explain the meanings of offensive gestures without using some rude words, so this article will not be suitable for everyone. This is about the most aggressive/ offensive gesture in English, meaning basically “f*ck you”, often as a replacement for actually hitting someone. 2. 12. This obviously means “What can I do?”, often aimed at the other person as in “What can I do with you? Neither is pointing a gun at someone who is not aware that a gun is being pointed at him or her. What is obscene is decided locally, by the community. Both gestures for crazy start with your right index finger pointing horizontally at your right temple. I think the rule is that if there is likely to be offence caused, just don't do it. Take the OK sign — the simple hand signal where you put your thumb and first finger together to create a circular shape. Put your resting bitch-face away. Beware of protruding fingers. This offence will get them deported. This can be done by putting the thumb of the second hand on the little finger of the first hand to make it longer, or (more commonly) by making the same playing the trumpet gesture with your thumbs on the two sides of your head with your palms facing the other person. Arab and Caribbean countries see the action of pointing your right index finger and the grouped finger tips of your left hand as a way of saying, “you have five fathers.” Or, in harsher terms, “your mother is promiscuous.". The other person way, until it reaches the extreme right of your closed mouth ) of! Mediation ( especially community mediation ) instead of litigation be a better choice! ” ) has something! 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