Learn offensive hand gestures from around the world you should avoid
Travelling around the world has plenty of benefits: seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and meeting new people. Well, if you’re going to travel off the beaten path, be careful; so much as a thumb in the wrong direction could prove to be a huge insult to your hosts.
The meaning of hand gestures vary drastically from culture to culture. Give someone a well-meaning “thumbs up” in Russia, and they’ll interpret it as a vulgar insult. So, instead of offending those you meet during your globe-trotting travels, this handy infographic will help to ensure far more effective communication.
Created by Just The Flight, learn the rude and offensive hand gestures that you should be avoid when travelling.
The Middle Finger
Universally understood by everyone, it means “fuck you.” There’s no worry of this one being lost in translation.
Calling someone a wanker in Britain without moving your hand in a jerking off motion isn’t quite as effective.
Rude in: United Kingdom
You Suck Cock
A wanker hand with knuckles facing up motioning towards an open mouth with tongue in cheek is another one of those universally understood hand gestures.
The V Sign
While the V sign may mean peace in much of the world. However, in the UK and some commonwealth counties, showing your fingernails is closer to a declaration of war.
Thats fighting words in: United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand
Me Na Frega
In Italy, sweeping the hand under the chin to someone is a blunt way of saying “I don’t give a damn.”
Be careful in: Italy
The Thumbs Up
A natural response to someone saying or doing something cool is a thumbs-up. But in some parts of the world, such as West Africa and the Middle East, you’re saying “up yours.” In Thailand, a thumbs-up is like sticking out your tongue.
Thumbs down in: Italy, Afghanistan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Gambia
From insinuating someone is homosexual, to calling them an asshole, and even “fuck you.” The A-OK gesture doesn’t travel well.
Not OK in: Brazil, Turkey, Germany and Venezuela
The Dog Call
While other gestures might land you in a fight, this is the only one that’ll land you in prison.
Keep it locked down in: Philippines
The Southpaw Handshake
In many parts of the world, the left hand is traditionally used for ‘personal matters.’ Extending your left hand is basically calling them excrement.
Use your right hand in: India, Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, and Egypt
Hands in Your Pocket
If you thought you could avoid making rude hand gestures by keeping your hands in your pocket, think again. In many parts of the world, keeping your hands in your pockets is considered rude, especially when talking to someone.
Hands out in: United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and Germany
A favourite amongst rockers; this gesture is a subtle way of saying “I’m having sex with your wife behind your back.”
Straighten up in: Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Colombia, and Spain
If you’re looking to order five shots, don’t spread your palm. You’re essentially telling the bartender to order an off-menu delicacy feed them.
Keep it closed in: Greece
Sometimes insulting one person isn’t enough. That’s where the cutis comes in. It basically says “fuck you, fuck your mother, father, sister…” etc.
Avoid it in: India and Pakistan
The Five Fathers
This is a fancy way for saying someone’s mother is a whore.
So not cool in: Bahamas, Barbados, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Gambia
For some reason, pretending to get ketchup out of a bottle means someone has a small penis.
Find it in: Chile
The Fig Sign
In some cultures the fig is used to ward off evil spirits. However, in others it represents a vagina or is a rude way of dismissing a request for help.
Not OK in: India, Turkey, and Italy
If you’re crossing your fingers for luck in Vietnam, you’re actually using the sign for a vagina.
Don’t chance your luck in: Vietnam
It’s not just your hands that can get you into trouble. Showing your feet in some cultures is considered lowly.
Keep you shoes on in: Afghanistan, Iran, Thailand, and United Arab Emirates
The Little Finger Wag
Wagging your little finger at someone indicates that they have a wee penis.
Avoid it in: United Kingdom, Australia, and United States