italian-hand-gestures-pinched-finger-emoji-meaning

ITALIAN HAND GESTURES & Pinched Fingers Emoji Meaning!

Clelia Mattana BLOG, DESTINATIONS, FUN CORNER, ITALY 111 Comments

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ITALIAN HAND GESTURES EXPLAINED INCLUDED THE NEW PINCHED FINGERS EMOJI!


Ah, Italian hand gestures are for sure Italy’s most famous signature (hand signature in every sense) Let’s see the best ones!

LATEST UPDATE FEBRUARY 2020

Hold on to your horses! There is a new pinched fingers emoji included and it has a strictly Italian meaning! Everyone is tagging me to tell me so hey, could I have leaved out of this article?! Certainly not!

Keep reading to see me using the now famous italian pinched fingers emoji… way before they invented it online, including what it means of course!

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Italians are well famous for their hand gestures. We can go on and on talking only by using our hands and perfectly understand each other. It’s our “Trademark”, we don’t even realize it until someone starts emulating us (see my boyfriend when I talk to my parents on the phone).


Let’s say that you are on vacation in Italy, being in Sardinia, Tuscany, Rome…whatever! And you meet an Italian person. Yes, that strange creature, half-human, and half cartoon, who would be probably able to send you to jail for eating a pineapple pizza or drinking a cappuccino after midday (but I’m digressing!)

What do you do to make them laugh or impress them? Easy peasy! Start to talk and use hand gestures, just like them! You will see an instant smile on their face (and they probably will think you are a bit crazy, but that’s part of the game right?.)


So let’s get started with our Italian hand gestures crash course. After reading this article, you will finally understand what’s going on when two Italians are around. No more secret codes, I promise!  You will even able to join the conversation and add some very deep meaning to it πŸ˜‰



UPDATE 2017 – FOGNINI HAND (FINGER) GESTURE AT WIMBLEDON –


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Fabio Fognini’s hand gesture at Wimbledon 2017, obscene or not?


This one made me laugh! When the Italian tennis player Fabio Fognini put his finger in the mouth during his match against Andy Murray at Wimbledon, so many people started Googling “Fognini Finger in mouth gesture” “Obscene Italian hand gestures” “Finger in mouth meaning”, looking for an answer.

You even sent me numerous emails asking me whether or not he truly performed an obscene gesture. So what’s the answer?

Not really! Italians are famous for using their hands a lot but not all these gestures are either specific for a situation or offensive! Let’s say that we truly like to gesticulate a lot even if it doesn’t have a proper meaning.

In this specific case, Fognini’s gesture wasn’t obscene and it actually didn’t have any specific mean at all. If I had to guess, as an Italian who also gesticulates a lot, he did it probably out of frustration, or he was mimicking a gag reflex for a bad shot, who knows? But from what I saw  (I’m a massive tennis fan and I was watching the whole thing when it happened) I didn’t really see anything obscene in his gesture.

For the records, I’m not defending him because he is Italian, he was involved in a few debates regarding his behavior and I don’t like him AT ALL.  As a matter of fact, even if he has some brilliance in his game, I am a die-hard Rafa Nadal fan, so no conflict here πŸ™‚

Now back to the main topic, the real, meaningful, Italian hand gestures you need to know…

Ready? Read on!

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 TOP ITALIAN HAND GESTURES: (Featuring me)


Disclaimer: These shots have been one of the most embarrassing things I ever did because not only I had to perform some very silly faces, but I also had my boyfriend mocking me the whole time! πŸ™‚


For every picture I will put a headline with the meaning and a quick explanation at the bottom. Note that to fully understand the meaning of an Italian hand gesture, you always need to pay attention to the face! Enjoy the silliness…

ITALIAN HAND GESTURE N.1| DELICIOUS!

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Italian Gestures meaning: delicious!


When to use it: Typically at the restaurant after a very good meal, or in a funny way to compliment a girl. Use it to impress the waiter/waitress (unless you are eating at a very posh place, in that case, it’s not very appropriate!)


ITALIAN HAND GESTURE N.2: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! (New Online Emoji!)

Italian-hand-Gestures-What-are-you-talking about-are-you-serious-Come-on

Italian Gestures: What are you talking about??? are you serious?? Come on!! THERE IT IS! THE FAMOUS NEW EMOTICON/EMOJI … THE “PINCHING FINGERS ITALIAN GESTURE EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT! πŸ™‚


When should you use it?

One of your friends is saying something totally silly? or trying to bullshit you? Using this hand gesture will clearly state that you ain’t buying any of it!. Or you can even use it to simply piss them off even if they are talking about astrophysics. This is one of my favorites! really effective and straight to the point. Don’t forget to use a proper face!


 ITALIAN HAND GESTURE N. 3: YOU ARE CRAZY!

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Italian Gestures: you are crazy! You are nuts!

 


When should you use it?

I’ll use some silly fictionary examples: You’re on a vacation in Thailand, and instead of enjoying the beach, your friend has the brilliant idea of swimming in a Piranha filled pool? That’s the time to use this hand gesture!! (No don’t try and look for it, there are many activities to do in Koh Tao (Thailand), but nothing like swimming with Piranhas!!)


ITALIAN HAND GESTURE N. 4: GO TO HELL!!

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Italian hand Gestures meaning: Go to hell!! Go fxxk yourself!


When should you use it? (Hint: whenever you want!!) πŸ˜€

So…Your friend starts mocking you because you refuse to go swimming with the Piranhas with him. He says you are a coward, and you don’t know how to have fun in life. Feel free to use this sign! Avoid using this hand gesture with your girlfriend, especially if she’s Italian. Don’t tell me I haven’t warned you!!


ITALIAN HAND GESTURE N. 5: I GIVE UP! 

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Italian hand Gestures explained: I give up, I don’t know!


When should you use it: After sending your friend to hell with the previous gesture, unbelievably he is still trying to convince you about the Piranhas. You don’t want to argue with him anymore and want to drop the subject. This sign is perfect for the occasion! It also means the classic and straightforward: WHATEVER! (If your girlfriend is Italian and she uses this hand gesture, combined with a spiteful or poker face… RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! πŸ˜€


 ITALIAN HAND GESTURE N.6: YOU ARE STUBBORN!!

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Italian Gestures meaning: You are stubborn! hard-headed.


Where to use it: Your friend keeps insisting about the piranhas over and over. This is a good way to tell him that he’s stubborn and hard-headed! (maybe use a less smiling face to be more credible).

Italian Girlfriend? Listen to me carefully… NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE THIS HAND GESTURE WITH HER OR YOU’RE A DEAD MAN. Your Italian Girlfriend, like any woman on the planet is clearly always right! 



 ITALIAN GESTURE N. 7: YOU ARE BORING!!

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Italian Gestures: you are boring!!!


When should you use it:

You tried them all: You sent your friend to hell, said he was crazy and all, but he is persistent. He really wants you to swim with Piranhas with him. Tell him that he is getting boring by shaking your hands in front of you (and rolling your eyes).

Advice for the Italian girlfriend? I think you don’t need it anymore from now on! πŸ™‚


ITALIAN HAND GESTURE N. 8: ENOUGH!!

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Italian Gestures: Enough!!


When should you use it?

You don’t want to hear another word about Piranhas. Or anything else. With this hand gesture, you close the conversation for good.


ITALIAN HAND GESTURE N. 9: I DON’T CARE, I DON’T GIVE A DAMN!

Italian-hand-gestures-I-don't-give-a-shit-I-don't-care

Italian hand gestures: I don’t give a damn!! I don’t care.


Where to use it:

Your friend finally decides to go swimming with the damn piranhas by himself. He comes back, alive, with a half eaten bloody foot. This sign is perfect to tell him that you don’t give a damn.


ITALIAN GESTURE N. 10: I HAVE AN IDEA!!

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Italian Gestures: I have a brilliant idea!!


When to use it: You want to dissuade your friend from proposing other rent-less adventures, and you had the brilliant idea of involving him in a scuba diving course.. go to him and, with an excited face, tell him that you had the most incredible idea by using this sign!


ITALIAN GESTURE N. 11: IF I CATCH YOU I KILL YOU!!

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Italian Gestures: If I catch you I kill you!!


When to use it:  After telling your friend about your idea, he confesses that he just signed up for another activity. He’s going to swim with big white sharks. This sign exactly “daammn, don’t let me catch you! Otherwise, I’ll ruin you with my hands!”


ITALIAN GESTURE N. 12: SIGNS AGAINST BAD LUCK

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When to use it: Even with his absurd ideas you still care about your friend, so before he leaves for his next adventure you want to perform this sign to wish him good luck. This gesture means ” I hope nothing bad happens to you, I will exorcise the bad luck for you”!


You can also use this sign for the opposite reason. You are watching your favorite football game and the referee just gave a penalty to the other team. Before they try to score, you perform this sign to wish them bad luck.


Italians, football and superstition! πŸ™‚ what a great combination!



 ITALIAN GESTURE N.13: SILLY ME I FORGOT!!

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Italian gestures:Damn, I forgot!!


When to use it: You finally signed up for the scuba diving course with your friend. The morning of your first lesson, you woke up at 10, and you suddenly realize that you just missed the 6 am immersion. That’s the face you will show to the world (if you are Italian of course) πŸ™‚


ITALIAN GESTURE N. 14: SILLY ME! I REMEMBER NOW!!

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Italian Gestures:yes! I remember now!


When to use it: After all your lectures about Piranhas and attend the scuba diving course, your friend is really pissed off at you. He reminds you that you told him to get ready by 5:50 am for the first class.


You play dumb and pretend you were too drunk to remember what you said the previous night (if you are in Koh Tao he’s going to believe you eventually!). But, right now…He’s insisting. Now you can perform “The face” as you just remembered out of the blue! This can be a genuine face or a fake face, depending on the circumstances. Pay attention to catch the liar!



ITALIAN GESTURE N. 15: HE/SHE THINKS IT’S SMART!!!

Italian-hand-gestures-He-she-thinks-he-is-smart-Clelia-Mattana_keep-calm-and-travel

Italian gesture:He/she thinks it’s smart!


When to Use it: Your friend believe your innocent face, you turn your face to your other friends and make this face as to say : ” He think he’s smart”. You can also use this gesture when you genuinely think that someone said something smart. Italians don’t always fake it! πŸ™‚

 ITALIAN GESTURE N. 16: COME HERE YOU!

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Italian gestures: Come here!


Where to use it : You want to have a private chat with your friend before he goes swimming with the sharks. You can call him just waving your hand up and down.  If you make little, almost invisible movements, it means that you need to tell him some sort of secret.


ITALIAN GESTURE N. 17: BE CAREFUL, WATCH OUT!

Italian-hand-Gestures-Be-careful_watch-out_keep-calm-and-travel

Italian Gestures:Be careful!


When to use it: Your friend comes closer to you and, after you performed the superstitious gesture for good luck, you add this sign, to warn him about the danger and to incite him to be extremely careful in his adventure. After all the lies and mocking, you still care about your friend!

 —————————————————————————-

So my dear friends! This shenanigan about Piranhas, sharks and bad travel friendship is officially over! I hope you appreciated my acting qualities and my vast knowledge of Italian traditions and costumes! πŸ™‚


For more information, or to attend one of my VERY popular courses in “Italian Shenanigan-ism/silliness volume 1”  just contact me or feel free to comment on the space below!


Now you are officially ready to conquer the world!


Oh, and if you didn’t like my post…

Italian-hand-gestures_I-don't-give-a-shit

Italian gestures: I don’t give a damn!! I don’t care

JUST KIDDING!



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 famous-italian-hand-gestures-including-the-bad-words

Read in: Italian German

Comments 111

  1. Thanks for posting this out! Amazing post and a great read! Really it was an awesome article…very interesting to read. Thanks for sharing your information.

  2. Mind Blowing!Thank you klelia.I learnt new things..You’re so cool! So is the post! I really really like this post..

    Admin note: I removed some promotional content, not allowed on the comment section.

  3. Mind Blowing!Thank you klelia.I learnt new things..You’re so cool! So is the post! I really really like this post..

    ADMIN NOTE: please refrain from adding promotional content or links, thank you.

  4. I must say that international travel and on cruises tha Italians are the rudest people ever. And what’s up with the women’s lips? Stay away from the plastic surgeon. It doesn’t fool anyone and its ugly.

    1. Wow, talking about generalizing a population! well as you can see at least my lips are thin and ugly by themselves, no surgeon required. Thanks for stopping by πŸ˜€

    1. Hit your hand with your other arm above your elbow or put all your fingers together with your thumb behind your middle finger and move it up and down while in an argument

  5. You’re so cool! So is the post! I really really like this post. I must save your URL for reference. because I do not want to be an idiot when travelling in Italy πŸ™

  6. Having worked every summer in southern Italy the last six years and also having spent a fall and a winter there, I have seen most of these gestures.. But some are certainly more popular than others. For example, what are you talking about? But it doesn’t just mean the literal English translation…there are so many subtile meanings to that gesture… It can also be used to interject a comment into a conversation. Or also a more polite…are you crazy…what the Hell are you talking about! I actually can’t imagine Italians talking without gestures….I even use them now. But many of these go along with the shoulder shrugs too. Oh yes, and the finger poking on the chest of the person you are talking to as well, for emphasis. They provide emphasis and an added emotional context to the gesture. Coming from a German background where hands are not really part of the conversation I think they are great.

    1. Aahhaahha Peter, you are Italianized! You almost know better than me all the story behind some of the most common Italian gestures πŸ˜€ And coming from a German background I’m double impressed! Bravo!

  7. Great stuff! My heritage is proudly Italian (family from around Avalino).

    One thing – just watched an Italian tennis player sanctioned for putting his index finger in his mouth (you can guess the motion, lol). Am I correct in my assumption that this is a major insult? πŸ™‚

    1. Ahahah Graham! I am also watching Wimbledon and you are clearly referring to Fognini against Murray πŸ˜‰ As I saw it, that is not a typical Italian gesture, nor a clear insult in any way. It might have been a gesture of frustration, possibly mimic a gagging reflex but I doubt it was obscene. Totti, the famous Italian football player, is (was…sigh as he just retired)also famous for putting his finger in his mouth and suck it but that was his signature gesture after a goal, in that case, it meant nothing more than mimicking the sucking of the thumb newborn do (and it was like an homage to his kids).

      These umpires in England are very strict, Fognini in that moment wasn’t insulting anyone πŸ™‚ PS, just for the records, I’m not a Fognini fan, I’m a Rafa fan!

      1. Hi Clelia,

        Thanks for the quick reply! I do agree that I too have never seen this one before – it’s just that it seemed to be such a deliberate motion, lol.

        I remember Totti’s thumb-sucking trademark well. He certainly started a trend in football with that one, ha ha.

        Enjoy the tennis – Rafa’s looking good for sure.

        Great blog, G.

  8. I’m Matteo from Italy and this is brilliant! ahahahahahhaahaa You nailed them, I loved your works. Regardes from Naples!

      1. Hi, thank you it was very informative and entertaining! One of my closest friends is Italian I now know how to irritate her. By the way she keeps saying (spelling is obviously wrong) ‘fuculla’ any idea what she is saying? Ciao Tony

        1. Muahahaha OH MY, Tony!!! I’m pretty much sure that what she meant was “vaffanc….” (not writing the whole word in here but I think you get it πŸ˜€ It means, let’s put it nicely “Go to hell” but in reality, it’s more rude…Don’t worry, we say it a lot, almost never to insult people especially if they are friends who love annoying us!

  9. On or before New Years it was a custom to say “Bona mana mi”. Not sure if spelling is correct. What is translation in English and what is correct spelling in Italian?

    1. Ahahaha Honestly? I have NO IDEA! It’s definitely not an Italian sentence and doesn’t make any sense πŸ™‚ Sorry I couldn’t help!!

  10. Hahaha as a Turkish I can say we have these gestures too but Italians use them a lot more than us. I have an Italian girlfriend I know

  11. Sorry for the jump in. I just started a facebook page that talks about italian, especially from an ironic standpoint.
    We talk abut stereotypes, and do you know how it’s simple to have fun with them?

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  14. lol, I love this. My stepdad is Italian and I have seen many of these. Some I understood, and some I didn’t. Some I had never seen. I am going to test him and see if he knows, lol. Thanks for sharing. Made me laugh, especially the last one, lol.

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  16. It’s really best blog site on travels. I’m going to the Italian cultures like that for experience in my life. This is likeable travel in best destination…………Thanks

  17. Haha I love this. I have only recently watched Eat Pray Love with the Italian hand gestures! I need to go to Italy so if I learn these I can just speak English and everyone will understand me right!?

    1. Ahhaha I remember the part wuth the Italian gestures in that movie, so funny πŸ™‚ that’s all it takes to let Italian people understand you, trust me πŸ™‚

    1. ahahahahah he’s sucking his thumb as to mime his children! it’s only a cute gesture really, no hiddeng meaning in there πŸ™‚

    1. wooooh wait…I now realize that we don’t have a gesture for such word!! (not that I know of, at least…)…shame on us Italians! But we have many other way to express it πŸ™‚

  18. Hi Klelia, I just found your site, and I love the post on Italian hand gestures! Please send me info on your Italian Shenaniganisms!

  19. I wish I can do the same like that , but i am just a man , who will give me sh**T but i did to traveling at the same time work but i can feel and see the world is small. now i am back to Bali and open the small business helping people for traveling u can see my site dikutabali so far for now just for domestic but i also help foregont also because i know how it feel when people help you !

  20. Very interesting gestures. I think that we use some of them here in Louisiana too, or perhaps it is just because I have a little Romano in mi. Great article! Thanks!

    1. Really? I’m discovering that many people know some of the gestures.. interesting. I guess it’s because you have some ITalian genes. The gesture are transmitted by a special Gene in your DNA πŸ˜›

      1. its true, in your genes. i have used my hands while talking since i was quite young. didnt even know i had some Italian blood at that time.

        1. Yep! Definitely is in the genes! We are super weird but funny! Glad you have a small part of our awkwardness in you πŸ™‚

  21. The funniest post I have read in a long time. You definitely should make a video. Just think of how many YouTube views it would have.

    1. Jeff, more than one year after I published this post, videos with similar Italian Gestures are appearing all over the internet… copy cats!

      Italian gesture appropriate in here: Hand in my mouth ” If I catch you I’ll ruin you”!!!!

  22. Loved this post! How did you come out with this Idea? I have a few Italian friends, will show them the article, they’ll be definitely amused πŸ™‚

    1. I don’t Know Christopher.. sometimes i just have crazy ideas and i go for it! Glad you enjoyed it, and please show it to your Italian friends..i’m sure they’ll like it!

  23. Of course I am not asking you, dear, to make a video. WouldnΒ΄t dream of it. BUT!
    If I play really daft, thick and stupid, perhaps you will feel sorry for me and do it anyway, since I am a bit in doubt about how to make number 1 and 11…
    Great job Miss K; loving every post, sentence, word, tale, story and laugh.
    Grazie di cuore.

  24. Brilliant Miss K…

    Tried to force an Italian to sit on her hands the other day…needless to say she could not continue “speaking” πŸ˜‰

    Would be nice though, for a thick foreigner as me, to see you do them vivante, irl, so one can practise and rehearse in order to make them all spot on before going out and try them on the…Italians! πŸ˜‰

  25. This post cracked me up!! ahahah i’m half Italian and half American and i know some of your signs πŸ™‚ The piranha story was brilliant too!

  26. haha, what a great post! yeap, italians are pretty intense with the gestures, one of the things you guys share with us greeks.
    but, mind u missy, u don’t have our precious moutza gesture lol

      1. ok, here’s a lovely demo of moutza from old greek movies:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a42-l-bb9oM

        Moutza can be super rude and insulting to a fun gesture between friends. Depends on the circumstances. f.e. it’s a perfect way to start a feast fight in an argument or you can do that gesture while frowning when a friend says a bad joke.

          1. in this case, i’m not that tempted to see ur vid becoming a reality haha!
            (you’re one cunning woman!)

  27. Haha, great article, will share it! Some of these gestures are not typical Italian i guess, we do them in Germany, too. Or maybe it’s only me, since I’m half Italian. I’ll pay more attention from now on.
    Anyway, thanks for this article! Grazie!

    1. Thanks Sab! Now i’m curious to know which gestures are “shared” with other cultures πŸ™‚ I made a test on my Boyfriend (South African) and he didn’t know a single one! ahahah

  28. Thanks for a very entertaining and animated post! Well done for posing for all those gestures. And what is wrong with swimming with piranhas, it makes me swim faster πŸ™‚

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