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Can You Identify These Everyday Arab Gestures?

posted on: Sep 11, 2019

Can You Identify These Everyday Arab Gestures?

By Katie Teague/Arab America Contributing Writer

Like other cultures around the globe, the Arab world is comprised of iconic behaviors that constitute the Arab identity.  When it comes to hand gestures, it is imperative that you understand the most important ones and how to use them appropriately.  Are you familiar with them?  Take this quiz and find out if you would survive in the streets of the Arab World with hand gestures alone…

1. Right Hand on the Heart

Can You Identify These Everyday Arab Gestures?

When Arabs place their right hand over their heart, you are in luck, especially as a greeting!  This is their way of showing…

2. Fingers Gathered and Moved Up and Down

Can You Identify These Everyday Arab Gestures?

This gesture is a must know if you are to get around town.  Move your hand up and down in this position to emphasize…

3. Pointed Up Index Finger

Can You Identify These Everyday Arab Gestures?

Pointing the index finger of the right hand towards the sky is a way of ensuring that a problem is…

4. Twisting the Palm Upward

Can You Identify These Everyday Arab Gestures?

Holding your right hand outwards with the palm down and then suddenly twisting it upwards means “why” or “how”…

5. Biting the Index Finger

Can You Identify These Everyday Arab Gestures?This is how Arabs express the emotion of…

6. Holding the Chin with the Right Hand

Can You Identify These Everyday Arab Gestures?

You will most likely see this gesture following the end of a conversation because it means…

7. Twisting Open Hand Near the Brain

 

We have a similar hand gesture in the West; a way of calling someone [blank] when they act a certain way or say something unexpected.

8. Resting the Index Finger on the Thumb

Can You Identify These Everyday Arab Gestures?

 

Another crucial sign, you’ll see this gesture in just about every street conversation.  It’s how Arabs…

9. Hand Up with the Palm Down

Can You Identify These Everyday Arab Gestures?

If someone ever gives you this signal, you are not very important or…

Answers:

1. Appreciation and love

2. Patience

3. In God’s hands

4. Why or how

5. Frustration

6. “I’ll show you”- another way of saying just wait and see or do such a sacrifice for me.

7. Crazy

8. Swear to god, also known as “wallah” in Arabic. If the gesture moved in and out, it means “I am angry and I’ll punish you later”.

9. A cause for concern.  In other words, shooing away something or someone