Re: International gestures - help needed

From: Otto Stolz (
Date: Wed Jan 28 1998 - 09:25:19 EST

On Jan 28, 4:54, Winkler, Arnold F wrote:
> Could [thumb and index finger in a circle with other 3 fingers straight]
> be misconstrued as a vulgar gesture in some parts of the world?

Definitely yes.

I remember times when this meant "Arschloch" (arse-hole), a severe insult,
in Germany. Meanwhile, it is obsolescent, as there is a different gesture
with different meaning in vogue (viz. middle finger straight upwards, other
fingers bent down).

I fear, you will not to be able to find an "international" gesture
of appropriate meaning. Examples:
- Years ago, the ADAC (German Automobile Association) tried to establish
  a "sorry"-Gesture amongst automobilists, viz. thumb and two fingers
  stretched horizontally, thus forming the letter E for "Entschuldigung"
  or "Excuse me" -- however, this resembles an Italian insult, viz. two
  fingers (without the thumb) stretched in the same way, meaning "cornuto"
- In Germany, a thumb stretched upwards from a closed fist usually means OK,
  but I can conceive that this may be misconstrued as a vulgar gesture,
  elsewhere, as it could be perceived as a phall symbol (cf. recent vulgar
  German gesture, above).

Best wishes,
   Otto Stolz

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