The Meaning of Hand Gestures Around The World

We bet you didn't know that hand gestures had so varied meaning around the world

One of the most common hand gestures is the OK sign. It is done by connecting the thumb and forefinger into a circle and holding the other fingers straight or relaxed in the air. The most common interpretation of this sign is OK. This is not the only interpretation, however. There are some countries where the OK sign may be perceived as a grave insult or where it will simply not be understood.


Let’s have a look at different countries and what the OK sign means there:

Australia – Usually means ”zero” rather than OK, not common.

Canada – OK, alright, good. You can use it to signify approval.

China – The OK sign is not used.

France – Zero, null.


Finland – military conscripts use the sign to signal that they have zero days left in the military service on their last day of the national service.

Germany – Usually means the job well done but it can be a very grave insult. The meaning depends on the region

Greece – OK (rarely used).

Ireland – OK.


Italy – OK.

Japan – The general meaning is money, for young people it means OK.

New Zealand – It’s regarded as a cheesy way of saying OK. Not much used.

Russia – Many people would understand this as OK, but they don’t use this sign.


Spain – OK.

Sweden – OK.

Turkey – Homosexual.

United Kingdom – OK.

Venezuela – Homosexual.

USA – OK, alright, good. You can use it to signify approval.

Please note that meaning of gestures varies among various parts of countries and also among cultural groups and between generations.

Source by Peter Siljerud