20 Rude Hand Gestures

Vacation Ideas

20 Rude Hand Gestures Plus 15 Use with Caution Hand Gestures

Destinations to foreign countries where the customs are different than here in the United States require you to take time to read about these common hand gestures, both bad and good.

hand gestures
The above common (in the US) hand signal is just here to throw you off track. Keep quiet or “it’s a secret.” It is definitely not a rude hand gesture. But the hand gestures or signals below are no secret and have more or less specific meanings in certain countries. Read below to find out more.

We see and often use a hand gesture here, but never give them a second thought. We could easily make a big mistake giving the wrong hand signals to foreigners if we don’t know right from wrong for hand gestures or signals.

Here’s a great chart we found explaining some rude hand gestures.



Rude hand Gestures from Around the World

From Visually.



The above are hand gestures we need to avoid. As a traveler visiting other countries we certainly don’t want people thinking bad of us by using hand signals that may be offensive to them. Hand signals are great if we use them the correct way. It can indicate we’re interested in or care about the people we are visiting.


15 Global Hand Gestures and their Sometimes Contradictory Meanings

Here is another similar chart. This time it is of hand gestures that may or may not be acceptable gestures depending on which country you’re using them in. They may have different meanings in different countries. The implied meanings could even be the exact opposite of the meaning in the United States. They should be used with caution if you’re not sure of the meaning in the country you’re in. If the gesture is not on the chart a wise decision is don’t use it.

Using them could cause you awkward or embarrassing moments if you use then incorrectly or at the wrong time. See the chart below that Cheapflights has created. Its a guide to hand gestures around the world. How about a common sign of pointing your finger at anyone or anything? Did you know that is not in good taste in some countries?



Know before you go

There you have it. A brief summary of some hand signals we are quite familiar with, even if we only use few of them ourselves. We’ve seen them used an untold number of times and take them for granted.
travel girl

Now you know that what we take for granted here is not necessarily the same in other countries. In fact some well-meaning gestures we routinely use here may mean just the opposite in other countries.

Knowing these gestures will make you a smarter traveler and bring you more respect from people in the country you’re visiting when you honor their customs.

Even the “little” things like a simple hand gesture you don’t use or those that you do, show respect to those you meet.

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