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Q: Explain This Hand Gesture ( No Answer,   3 Comments )
Subject: Explain This Hand Gesture
Category: Relationships and Society
Asked by: celticteddygrahams-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 25 May 2004 21:35 PDT
Expires: 31 May 2004 17:06 PDT
Question ID: 352012
Could someone please explain what this hand gesture means?  This guy
did this hand gesture to a group of my friends and myself the other
day - he had his hand underneath his chin (fingers underneath his
chin, nails facing up) and was moving or "flicking" his fingers
hitting underneath his chin on his neck.  He did this quite often and
found it rather amusing as did his friends.  Just curious what him and
his friends meant by this.

Request for Question Clarification by markj-ga on 27 May 2004 10:10 PDT
Does this one look about right?

There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Explain This Hand Gesture
From: bluesimian-ga on 27 May 2004 10:31 PDT
Depends on the Nationality of the person making the gesture.

Does this help?
Subject: Re: Explain This Hand Gesture
From: pinkfreud-ga on 27 May 2004 11:30 PDT
For the sake of my fellow Researchers, I am reposting as a comment an
answer that was not correct. This is the answer that I asked the
editors to withdraw, since it describes the wrong gesture:


This gesture, often called the "chin flick," is widely used among
Italians and persons of Italian ancestry. It is a gesture of contempt,
somewhat less rude than giving a person "the finger." When used in the
United States, it usually means "Bug off, I've had enough of you." Not
a polite gesture, but not a particularly hostile one, either.

"She makes a gesture flicking her fingers under her chin that Italians
use to say, economically, forget him, he wasn't worth it, life goes on
and you'll be better off."

Salon: Italian Affair

 A sign of defiance and/or derision is stroking your fingertips under
your chin and thrusting them forward."

Career Mosaic India: Do's and Don'ts

"In New York City, they tend to alternate between the finger and
flicking all four fingers at a person from under the chin.

The fingers under the chin flick I thought was an Italian thing along
with the thumb flicked out from the teeth. Both meaning you've had
enough of the comments or situation."

FanForce Boards: 'Earthisms' to be avoided, and their alternatives

"Chin Flick: 'Not interested,' 'Buzz off,' in Italy. In Brazil and
Paraguay, 'I don't know."

The Moscow News: International Gesture Dictionary

Here is the most comprehensive explanation I've found:

"The Chin Flick gesture, in which the backs of the fingers are swept
upwards and forwards against the underside of the chin, is an
insulting action in both France and northern Italy. There it means
'Get lost-you are annoying me.' In southern Italy it also has a
negative meaning, but the message it carries is no longer insulting.
It now says simply 'There is nothing' or 'No' or 'I cannot' or 'I
don't want any'. This switch takes place between Rome and Naples and
gives rise to the intriguing possibility that the difference is due to
a surviving influence of ancient Greece. The Greeks colonized southern
Italy, but stopped their northern movement between Rome and Naples.
Greeks today use the Chin Flick in the same way as the southern
Italians... Greek architecture and philosophy expanded farther and
farther in their influences, but for some reason, gestures like the
Chin Flick did not travel so well. Many countries, such as England,
lack them altogether, and others, like France, know them only in a
different role.

Another historical influence becomes obvious when one moves to North
Africa. There, in Tunisia, the Chin Flick gesture once again becomes
totally insulting: a Tunisian gives a 'French' Chin Flick, rather than
a 'Southern Italian' Chin Flick, despite the fact that France is more

Using English for Academic Purposes: Regional Signals

Google search strategy:

Google Web Search: "gesture" + "fingers" + "chin'

Google Web Search: "chin flick"

I hope this helps. If anything is unclear, please request
clarification; I'll be glad to offer further assistance before you
rate my answer.

Best regards,
Subject: Re: Explain This Hand Gesture
From: tutuzdad-ga on 27 May 2004 11:48 PDT
Seriously, now. Didn't they used to do this on "Our Gang" and "Little
Rascals" as their secret hand sign? I seem to recall the Threee
Stooges doing it also.


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