5 everyday hand gestures that can get you in serious trouble outside the US

hugh jackman peace sign

  • Some hand gestures that are innocent in the United States are offensive in other countries.
  • The thumbs up, the „OK“ sign, and crossing your fingers are all examples of gestures that are vulgar in certain places outside the US.

Not every hand gesture is universal.

And sometimes, making what you think is an innocent gesture in one country can land you in hot water somewhere else.

Just ask any traveler who’s given a thumbs-up in Afghanistan. Or someone who’s crossed their fingers in Vietnam or signaled „OK“ in Brazil. All those gestures have offensive connotations away from American soil.

Read on to see the hand gestures you definitely don’t want to make overseas.

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The ‚V‘ sign represents peace …

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. Anti-war activists later adopted it as a symbol of peace, and today the gesture is known as „the peace sign.“

… but flip it around, and in some countries it’s like giving someone the finger

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.

The gesture is often performed by flicking the V up from the wrist or elbow. 

You might throw up the devil’s horns at a rock show, but in some countries you’re telling someone their wife is cheating on them

Heavy metal fans are familiar with the so-called „sign of the horns“ or „devil horns,“ made by extending the index finger and pinky.

But in many European and South American countries, including Italy, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia, the gesture has a more obscene meaning.

There, it’s used to mock cuckolds — husbands whose wives are unfaithful. The connection is obvious to people from those countries: the word for „cuckold“ in Italian, Spanish, and Greek is the same word for „horned.“

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider

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