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Encyclopedia > Thumbs up
A human hand with an upright thumb, literally a 'Thumb Up'.
A human hand with an upright thumb, literally a 'Thumb Up'.
A young man showing the thumbs up gesture.
A young man showing the thumbs up gesture.

A thumbs up or thumbs down is a common gesture represented by a closed fist held with the thumb extended upward or downward in approval or disapproval respectively. These gestures have become metaphors in English: "My boss gave my proposal the thumbs-up" means that the boss approved the proposal, regardless of whether the gesture was made — indeed, the gesture itself is unlikely in a formal business setting. Download high resolution version (864x1234, 335 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (864x1234, 335 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ...


The source of the gesture is obscure, although Carleton S. Coon, having observed Barbary apes in Gibraltar using the gesture, hypothesised in the anthropological classic 'The Story of Man' that it is a mutual celebration of having opposable thumbs. Critics have suggested, however, that the apes may be simply aping man.


Though a favorite of Hollywood 'swords and sandals' epics, where the "thumbs down" symbol means that the loser in a gladiatorial combat should be put to death, recent research suggests the meanings of the symbols have changed over the years. In 1997, Professor Anthony Philip Corbeill of the University of Kansas concluded that the thumbs up actually meant "Kill him," basing his assertion on a study of hundreds of ancient artworks. Thus, the "thumbs up" was an approval of the gladiator's request to kill his vanquished foe rather than a vote to allow the defeated to remain alive. Corbeill wrote that a closed fist with a wraparound thumb was the indication for a gladiator's life to be spared. Desmond Morris' Gestures: Their Origins and Distribution mentioned this long before 1997. ... D. W. Griffith set out to depict the splendor of ancient Babylon in Intolerance. ... For the band, see 1997 (band). ... The University of Kansas (often referred to as KU) is an institution of higher learning in Lawrence, Kansas. ...

Pollice Verso by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1872 is the immediate source of the "thumbs down" gesture in popular culture.
Pollice Verso by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1872 is the immediate source of the "thumbs down" gesture in popular culture.

In Latin, the "thumbs up" gesture is called pollice recto, "thumbs down" is pollice verso. It is not certain that the contemporary gestures are identical to the gestures performed in ancient Rome. The current version was popularized by a widely reproduced academic painting by the 19th century artist Jean-Léon Gérôme, whose Pollice Verso depicts a triumphant gladiator standing over a fallen foe, looking up into the stands for the verdict of the crowd. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... This page lists direct English translations of common Latin phrases, such as veni vidi vici and et cetera. ... Year 1872 (MDCCCLXXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Popular culture, sometimes abbreviated to pop culture, consists of widespread cultural elements in any given society. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ... Birth of Venus, Alexandre Cabanel, 1863 Academic art is a style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies or universities. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Pollice Verso by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1872, is the immediate source of the thumbs down gesture in popular culture. ...


Additionally, Desmond Morris' Gestures: Their Origins and Distribution traces the practice back to a medieval custom used to seal business transactions. Over time, the mere sight of an upraised thumb came to symbolize harmony and kind feelings. Dr Desmond Morris (born 24 January 1928 in the village of Purton, UK) is most famous for his work as a zoologist and ethologist. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. ...


During World War II, pilots on U.S. aircraft carriers adopted the thumbs up to alert the deck crew that they were ready to go and that the wheel blocks could be removed. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... For other uses, see Aviator (disambiguation). ... Four aircraft carriers, (bottom-to-top) Principe de Asturias, amphibious assault carrier USS Wasp, USS Forrestal and light V/STOL carrier HMS Invincible, showing size differences of late 20th century carriers An aircraft carrier is a warship designed to deploy and in most cases recover aircraft, acting as a sea...

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The gesture internationally

The gesture's popularization in America is generally attributed to the practices of World War II pilots, who used the thumbs up to communicate with ground crews prior to take-off. This may have originated with the China-based Flying Tigers, who were among the first American flyers involved in WWII. The appreciative Chinese would say ”挺好“ ("ting hao"), meaning "very good," and gesture with a thumbs up, which in Chinese means "you're number one." It is often a sign of respect when higher figures of Chinese police is concerned. Any person from China will recognize this numerical gesture, and it can be seen in movies and photos of the era, though this has not been verified in print by AVG pilots. American GIs are reputed to have picked up on the thumb and spread it throughout Europe as they marched toward Berlin." [1] Combat pilots in the US and around the world still use this gesture. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The Flying Tigers was the nickname of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), a group of United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), United States Navy (USN), and United States Marine Corps (USMC) pilots and ground crew, recruited under a secret Presidential sanction by Claire Chennault, that formed a fighter group with... GI or G.I. is a term describing a member of the US armed forces or an item of their equipment. ...


According to Luís da Câmara Cascudo [1], Brazilians have adopted the "thumbs up" from watching American pilots based in northern Brazil during World War II.


"'Thumbs up' traditionally translates as the foulest of gesticular insults in some Middle Eastern countries — the most straightforward interpretation is 'Up yours, pal!' The sign has a similarly pejorative meaning in parts of West Africa, South America (except Brazil), Iran, Greece, and Sardinia, according to Roger E. Axtell's book Gestures: The Do's and Taboos of Body Language Around the World." [2]  Western Africa (UN subregion)  Maghreb[1] West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... For the place in the United States, see Sardinia, Ohio. ...


In Iraq, it means perfect or super dandy. It's widely common between people. Younger generations tend to use it more but older people use it too.


In Russia the meaning of this expression is "awesome", or "good", "well done".


In the UK, specifically north-west England, a single handed thumbs up sign can be used as a farewell or greetings gesture between young males. In situations where acquaintances may see each other briefly and unexpectedly, but are unable to communicate otherwise (e.g. whilst driving past one another, or through a glass window) the thumbs up signifies a gesture of recognition. It is also often used as a replacement for a more traditional "wave" goodbye when parting from one another. A less common variation is the use of a brief two handed thumbs up gesture made close to the body. For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ...


In India, although the gesture is well accepted, similar gestures have negative connotations:

  • While doing a thumbs up, if the hand is wagged from side to side in a reverse-pendulum like movement, it means "won't work" or "disagree".
  • Another rude gesture among kids (now less popular), is to show the thumb to a person and say "thengaa," sometimes followed making a face, drawing the tongue out and touching the chin with it.[citation needed] It indicates cocking a snook at someone.[citation needed]
  • Showing your thumb to someone and calling him/her "anghutaachaap"(finger-print) implies that you are insulting him/her as an illiterate person.[citation needed]

In Egypt, it means perfect or very good. It's widely common between people.


Arthur Fonzarelli, also known as "Fonzie" or "The Fonz," from the TV show Happy Days, often coupled his trademark phrase "Hey!!" with the thumbs up. Information Gender Male Age 17 (in 1956) Date of birth 1939 Date of death Unknown (still alive as of 1965) Occupation Part Owner of Arnolds Restaurant (1956-) Family Chachi Arcola (cousin) Episode count 255 (Happy Days) 4 (Laverne & Shirley) 1 (Mork & Mindy) 1 (Joanie Loves Chachi) Portrayed by Henry... Happy Days is a popular American television sitcom that originally aired between 1974 and 1984 on the ABC television network. ...


"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan of WWE fame is well known for his goofy grin, a 2x4 and big thumbs up. James Stuart Duggan (born January 14, 1954), better known by his ring name Hacksaw Jim Duggan, is an American professional wrestler, currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment wrestling on its RAW brand. ... World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. ... Timber in storage for later processing at a sawmill Lumber or Timber is a term used to describe wood, either standing or that has been processed for use—from the time trees are felled, to its end product as a material suitable for industrial use—as structural material for construction...


Umaga of WWE is well known for his thumbs up gesture, which signifies he is about to perform his signature move, the "Samoan Spike" where he jams his thumb into his opponents neck. Umaga may refer to either of the following individuals: Tana Umaga, New Zealand, former captain of the countrys national Rugby team, the All Blacks Eddie Fatu, professional wrestler better known by his stage name Umaga Category: ... World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. ...


The gesture in specific contexts

More recently, these gestures are associated with movie reviews, having been popularized by critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on their televised review show "Siskel & Ebert" — the thumb up meaning a positive opinion of a film; the thumb down meaning a negative one. The phrase "two thumbs up", originally meaning a positive review from both reviewers, has come to be used as an indication of very high quality or unanimity of praise. This article is about motion pictures. ... Look up Review in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Eugene Gene Kal Siskel (January 26, 1946 – February 20, 1999) was one of the worlds most successful film critics. ... Roger Joseph Ebert (born June 18, 1942) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American film critic. ... Ebert & Roeper at the Movies (more commonly known as Ebert & Roeper) is a movie review television program featuring film critic Roger Ebert and columnist Richard Roeper, both of the Chicago Sun-Times. ...


Hitchhikers traditionally use a thumbs up gesture to solicit rides from oncoming vehicles, although in this presentation the arm is generally outstretched with the palm and closed fingers facing the motorist. The gesture is also usually performed with the hand nearest the motorist. Hitchhiking (also called lifting or thumbing) is a form of transport, in which the traveller tries to get a lift (ride) from another traveller, usually a car or truck driver. ...


Supporters of Texas A&M University athletic teams use the thumbs-up sign, associated with the yell, "Gig 'em, Aggies." Texas A&M University redirects here. ... Gig em Aggies is a tradition of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, United States. ...


In scuba diving, the thumbs-up gesture is a specific diving signal given underwater, in which the diver indicates he is about to stop his dive and ascend. This occasionally causes confusion in new divers, who might automatically gesture thumbs-up when trying to indicate approval — actually indicating a desire to stop diving and to ascend. Scuba diving is swimming underwater while using self-contained breathing equipment. ... Diving Signals are a form of Sign language used by SCUBA divers to communicate when underwater. ...


In basketball, when a held ball occurs, an official will jerk both thumbs in the air, signalling that a jump ball is in order. This article is about the sport. ... A referee is a person who has authority to make decisions about play in many sports. ... The jump ball that starts the game, known as the opening tip, takes place at center court. ...


See also

This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... The finger. ...

Notes and references

  1. ^ Toledo, Roberto Pompeu de (March 14), "Uma paixão dos brasileiro's", Veja Magazine (no. 1999): 110, <http://www.veja.com.br/>

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