blow a kiss

Angelya

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi, friends! I have a question about "blow a kiss". According to the merriam-webster dictionary, to blow someone a kiss is to kiss the palm of one's hand, put the hand
flat in front of one's mouth, and then blow on it toward someone. But to my understanding, people kiss their fingers not palm to blow a kiss. What do you think? Waiting for your reply!
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    It's not always realised that gestures, like languages, differ from country to country. There are excellent books on this by Desmond Morris (Gestures, Bodytalk, etc.). If I remember correctly, British people don't use the fingertip-kiss as much as the French or Italians.
     
    Last edited:

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    I’ve seen people do both. Kissing the fingers is a lot more common in my experience.
    :thumbsup:
    For a small and light kiss your fingertips are strong enough, but if you want to blow a big, heartfelt kiss you need the strength of your palm.

    :p Nah, I'm just kidding. I don't think anybody makes that distinction. And yes, I use both both types without trying to imply any difference.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The classic Franco-Italian fingertip kiss (with bunched up fingers) differs from the British one, and I wouldn't call it "blowing a kiss".

    I've always put my palm flat at my mouth and kissed the tips of two fingers, then "tossed" the kiss to whomever I'm saying goodbye to. Kissing the palm and then "blowing" the kiss towards someone is rather foreign to me.
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    :thumbsup:
    For a small and light kiss your fingertips are strong enough, but if you want to blow a big, heartfelt kiss you need the strength of your palm.

    :p Nah, I'm just kidding. I don't think anybody makes that distinction. And yes, I use both both types without trying to imply any difference.
    If you kiss your fingers some of it might slip through the spaces between them, so the complete kiss might not reach its destination. Unless, of course, you have pudgy ones! :D
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Further to my #3. I've just had my copy of Gestures returned and I find:
    • The fingertips-kiss goes back to at least the Emperor Otho (69 AD).
    • It was common in Britain in the 17th century but faded gradually over the next 200 years into "a ridiculous custom".
    • Its modern meaning in the UK is not "adoration" but either praise or salutation; but both usages are relatively rare (less than 15% of respondents recognised it).
    • In modern Germany, France and Spain it's recognised as a gesture of praise; in southern Italy and its Mediterranean islands it's a greeting.
    Unfortunately, Morris et al. don't compare it with the palm-kiss.
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    In modern Germany, France and Spain it's recognised as a gesture of praise; in southern Italy and its Mediterranean islands it's a greeting.
    Oops, now I recognize I may have used the wrong word when I said fingertips.
    Velisarius mentioned "classic Franco-Italian fingertip kiss (with bunched up fingers)." Does that mean a hand posture like this?
    33618


    If yes, then that's not what I meant. Using both hands in this form and kissing the fingertips and "throwing" those kisses towards the audience is usually done by performers on stage when they get a standing ovation and it is a sign of gratitude.
    If the same thing is done with a single hand, it's a sign of praise - this is often seen in a restaurant when the food or wine is outstanding and you want to express this to the owner or the chef without having to search for words.

    Blowing a kiss in the sense of showing that you love or care for a person is done by kissing your palm or the front end of your fingers (not the fingertips!) and then blowing this virtual kiss towards the recipient. A deep, longing look is usually added at the end of this ritual - for good measure. :)
     
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