International gestures


This (from this site) is a gesture made by President Bush to greet the Texas Longhorn brass band last Thursday. It is called the Hook ’em, ‘horns salute and suggests a pair of horns.

In Norway, it created confusion, as it’s a salute to Satan (heavy metal again).

In American Sign Language it apparently means bullshit.

(Thanks to Derek)


A commenter pointed out that the above picture is not correct, because the thumb should be folded over the nails of the turned-in fingers. Here is a better picture:


This comes from the site of K-Read Custom Promotions, selling a variety of foam (sponge rubber) hands. Minimum order is 100 pieces.

Carter also points out that there is a lengthy post on the topic on Language Log. There’s so much on Language Log that I don’t see it all nowadays. The article concludes, after citing email received, that all the linguistic information in the source is essentially incorrect!

2 thoughts on “International gestures

  1. Oddly enough, the hand gesture in the foreground of the picture isn’t the proper “hook ’em horns” salute. The thumb should be crossed over the nails of the two turned down fingers (as both of the hands visibile in the background are doing).

    Language Log talked about the crosscultural confusion the sign caused a few days ago, too…

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