7 Common Gestures That Are Offensive AF

By Dhruvalakshmi Paithankar on Sep 28, 2018
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When in Rome, be like a Roman, they say. But, do you know that also includes following the unwritten code of which gestures to use and which ones to avoid? Showing the middle finger is disrespectful no matter where you are, but even keeping your fingers crossed or showing the victory sign is also among the offensive gestures in the world. So, we hobos (that’s what TripHobo family loves calling itself) decided to make a funny, comprehensive guide that will tell you how not to offend people when you are traveling around the globe. I am sure you do not want any trouble with the locals!

1. Ok? Not ok!


Do not form a circle with your thumb and index finger when you are in Greece, France, Belgium, Brazil, and in the Middle East. The ‘ok’ is definitely not okay here as it represents the evil eye. People also consider it a hand sign to say ‘you are an ass’.

2. No patting on the head


Do whatever you want to show your affection when you are in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Laos; but do not pat on the head. Why you might wonder. Because the head is a very significant part of the body, almost sacred, and it is not acceptable to touch it if you are not a family. 

3. You can't do it!


Infamously known as the forearm jerk, this is easily one of the obscene gestures around the world. If you do it in any of the European countries, it will mean that you are showing the middle finger, only the bigger and more disrespectful version of it.    

4. Start a fight with a closed fist 


You do not want to say ‘up yours’ to anyone while visiting Pakistan, right? Then don’t you dare show a closed fist when you are in public. The easiest way to piss someone off, isn’t it?

5. Insulting Palm out


It might be okay to show your hand palm out in front of your face at some places, but it is one of the gestures that are offensive in other countries like Africa and the Caribbean. Reason? Greeks believe that it is downright insulting, whereas, in Mexico and Panama, it means you are threatening people. And Pakistanis will think you are cursing them.

6. Care not to flick your chin


Who would have thought that stroking your chin with the back of your hand is among the rude hand gestures in the world? It simply means ‘get lost’ or ‘I don’t care’ in France, Tunisia, Northern Italy, and Belgium.

7. No ‘Dulya’ in Russia 


Fisting your hand and showing thumb from between middle and index finger is commonly known as the fig sign or dulya. Use this in Turkey and they will think that you are not respecting them. Do it in Russia and they will wonder why you are denying their request.

We know, there are still many gestures that are not welcomed in your country. Do tell us about such signs and save us from any trouble that we might cause while visiting your city!

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