Visual Encyclopedia

Thumb signal

A thumb signal, usually described as a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, is a common hand gesture achieved by a closed fist held with the thumb extended upward or downward in approval or disapproval, respectively. These gestures have become metaphors in English: "The audience gave the movie the thumbs-up" means that the audience approved of the movie, regardless of whether the gesture was actually made. The term itself is an Anglo-Saxon word indicating the measure of a clenched hand with the thumb extended.

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Contributed by Brittany Jones

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