What are some common European hand gestures I should be aware of?

It is really quite amazing how far pantomime, charades, and other ridiculous histrionics will get you when two people don’t speak the same language.

Being aware of European hand signals is a great skill set to possess. You never know when you'll run into a situation where these hand signals are being used. After reading this, you'll know exactly what people are implying!

(Plus Superstitions)-focus Italian/Greek with Illustration (Have Mickey do digital photo shoot)

  • Il cornuto (Italian) or los cuernos (Spanish)Translating literally to the “bullhorns” means your wife is cheating on you.
  • Forearm jerk or Bras d'honneur or Iberian slap or Italian salute - Europeans use the forearm jerk as a way to give someone the "middle finger." It can also indicate sentiments such as, "I'm better than you are," "Get lost, loser!" or "Up yours, buddy!"
  • Fingertip kiss or the “bellissima - This gesture is attributed to being stereotypically Italian, where someone gives their fingertips a light smooch and then fling their hand out in the air in front of them. Besides Italy, it is also used in France, Germany, and Spain. Typically, it’s used as a compliment, used in reference to something good, delicious, or wonderful.
  • The table drum - In Germany and Austria, locals will take their fists and do a two-fisted drum roll in the air, right over the table,  to wish someone good luck.
  • The eyelid pull - This is when you place your finger in the center of your bottom eyelid and pull the skin downward. The gesture is common in France, Italy, Spain, and Greece. In France and Greece, it is used to signal a warning, or to say that someone is watching you, whereas in Spain and Italy it is considered a friendlier gesture to say that that someone is clever or aware.
  • "OK" Sign - The 'OK' sign is fairly common throughout the USA and the UK. However, in France this actually means zero, nothing or worthless and it is also insulting in Greece, Italy, and Turkey.