The Essentials

Hand Signals That Are Offensive In Countries

The next time you travel, watch your hands.

Consider this: there are many hand gestures we recognize in this country to signal something is “ok.” However, if you throw up the wrong hand signal abroad, you could be getting the cold shoulder by locals.


A loop made with the thumb and index finger simply means “ok” in the U.S. But if you go down to Brazil, you’d be flipping off your friend.


Ironically, the peace sign could be offensive depending on where and how you raise it.


If you show the “v sign” with the back of your hand facing outwards, you might as well be using the middle finger in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.


And possibly the most used signal for approval is the thumbs up, but it is more likely to be interpreted as “up yours” in countries such as Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.