gesture for money in your culture

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by fenixpollo, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Is there a hand gesture, sign or signal for "money" in your culture? Can you describe it?

    Put the index finger and middle finger together and touch them to the thumb, then rub the thumb gently against the two fingers. I believe that it imitates the sound/feel of rubbing paper money between the fingers.

    Other threads related to gestures:
    two fingers together in Britain; is sign language international?; crossing oneself & superstitions; counting on your fingers; attracting attention in a restaurant; tic-tac systems; French gestures
  2. french4beth

    french4beth Senior Member

    For French (found on
  3. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    In Russian it seems to be the same as in English.
  4. moura

    moura Senior Member

    Portuguese Portugal
    Im Portugal it's almost the same - we use more the thumb and index rubbing each other, and the remained 3 fingers stay quiet.

    But I have noticed that we count 1-2-3 in a diferent way regarding some foreign people: we raise the left hand and take the right hand near it, to count with the right index, the three left fingers - 1 at little finger, 2 at ring finger, and 3 at middle finger (it would have been a lot less confusing to explain with gestures...:) ).
  5. Arenita

    Arenita Senior Member

    Lima - Perú
    Hi fenixpollo:

    I have to tell you that in Peru we use the same gesture. In addition, there is another one. You have your left hand streched and with your right fist you hit your left hand.
  6. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    We have a similar gesture, but we only stretch our right hand. This gesture can mean asking where's the money, for instance.
    I don't use many gestures, so I know rather little about them.
  7. belén

    belén Senior Member

    Spanish, Spain, Catalan, Mallorca
    Same in the country next door to Portugal :)
  8. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    I guess that the money talk is the same and equally understood in all the countries in the world.:D

    Same in Serbia.
  9. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Same in India (but it could be due to westernization hehe).
  10. Eugin

    Eugin Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Argentina (Spanish)
    I would have liked to be original, but I can´t:( ... we use the same sign in Argentina as well....

    And do people use this sign to mean that they do not have any money?:confused:

  11. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    In Mexico City when we mean "money", we make a fist, turning the knuckles up and make a "U" shape with index and thumb facing it forward, all the while shaking the hand up and down slightly. Somehow, when someone makes that signal to me, I hear "LANA" (Mexico City's slang for "moola") inside my head.
  12. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    G'day fenixpollo,
    We have the same gesture downunder and when the hand is placed behind the back and the fingers rubbed with the thumb it is an indication of a bribe.

  13. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Thanks for the link, Outsider. You may notice it was one of the links I included in tiny print in my first post. :)

    For a second, there, Natasha, I almost thought you were right about the universality of the money gesture. :D I have been surprised by how many cultures use the rubbing of the fingers!
    Thanks, Dan! I was waiting for an expert to share the Mexican version! ;) Clarification for ya: is the thumb crooked, or is it pointing upwards?
  14. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    Right! Right, right! I oversimplified: The thumb and the index are supposed to be held almost completely crooked, in the shape of hooks...
    I wonder what it's supposed to mean...
    The shape of a coin? The face of a President? The horns of Beelzebub?
    Crud, I don't know...
    Does anyone know out there?
  15. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    I feel like I understand this gesture and that Americans do it too. It gets the waiter from a far correct? You can also nod while doing it so they understand. Do you agree?
  16. malinche

    malinche Senior Member


    The same is used in Guatemala. This sign is more used when a lot of money is involved...
  17. GenJen54

    GenJen54 Senior Member

    Downright Pleasant, USA
    USA - English
    Mod Note: Fenix very nicely placed those links in his first thread so those who were interested in discussing THOSE topics could do so. That was not an invitation to discuss those other topics here.

    When I have time, I will remove this thread for a few moments so I can move all of those posts to the appropriate threads. For now, they shall remain deleted.

    To remind you, this thread is about hand gestures you make in your country to indicate money. Thank you.
  18. maxiogee Banned

    We use the rubbing fingers together gesture here in Ireland — nothing strange there, it seems to be a universal symbol for notes.
    What I do find odd that is that it is used even when people are indicating coinage, for say a parking meter or vending machine.

    Expanding on the thread's topic slightly — is there a separate gesture for coinage in your culture?
  19. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    That was in the back of my mind, too, Tony, and I assumed that it would come up sooner or later. Thanks for bringing it up! :)

    As far as I know in the US, there isn't a gesture for coins that is different from the general one for money. It's worth noting that we don't use coins for anything over a dollar (we have them, but we don't use them). The largest US coin that is widely used is 25 cents.
  20. ulcer New Member

    China/ Chinese
    The same is true in China...
  21. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    That's what Italians would do too.
  22. sinclair001

    sinclair001 Senior Member

    As Fenixpollo indicated, is understood the same gesture in Colombia
  23. Chazzwozzer

    Chazzwozzer Senior Member

    Same in Turkey, it is understood by everybody. :)
  24. Heba

    Heba Senior Member

    Coventry, England
    Egypt, Arabic
    Same here in Egypt
  25. Lugubert Senior Member

    I can't remember ever having encountered such a gesture (or another one carrrying that meaning) in Sweden.
  26. Money is money, after all, and people have been trading and doing commerce since...

    In France I can confirm that the thumb-two finger rub is a very understandable sign (probably used more in France than in the US?), as is the "signing of the check" gesture (spoken about before) to grab your server's attention when you want to pay the bill.

    Danieldefranco's closed-fist-palm-up gesture I am not at all familiar with, but the empty pocket thing I am sure any civilization that wears clothes with pockets would understand -- perhaps in the same way that we all instinctively bring our hands to our neck when choking :) and others will understand, regardless of where they're from.

    I would hypothesize that some gestures are universal because they relate to the human condition - for example, a hand to the mouth and wide eyes means "I'm hungry, I need to eat...", anywhere on the planet.

    All related to the human condition.

    But in order to eat, to survive, you need what? Lana, moolah, money... Money is so intertwined with civilization and the basic act of trading/buying/selling that we have perhaps always needed an international sign that says "Money".

    Great topic. I wonder how far that particular sign goes back? Atleast since the advent of money in the form of a "bill" (treasurer's note). May well have been different before, when coins were the norm.
  27. Lugu! Drats! You have just spoiled my hypothesis! :D !

    Are you sure it is unfamiliar to you? There must be a sign there for "money', as in: It's expensive or I need money or where''s the dough?
  28. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    The same in Hungary.
  29. guilaK

    guilaK Member

    It is the same in Iran.
  30. Perseas Senior Member

    The same in Greece.
  31. Ёж! Senior Member

    Either that, or not understood at all. :) Have never watched this sign; I am not sure I would even notice if someone used it. So, not equally; in Russia there are people totally not aware of it. :)
    This one I'm familiar with. Looks especially demanding when you waive your fingers a little. :) But that refers not only to money…
    Except the exact place where I live (I would think it means astonishment…)
  32. dadane Senior Member

    New Zealand
    English (London/Essex)
    In English that would be interpreted as a demand for payment, rather than a general representation of money. It is usually done by slapping the palm of the outstretched hand with the fingers of the other hand.
  33. jsvillar Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain
    In Spain is as in England, you join index and middle fingers and rub them with your thumb.
    To ask for the bill at a restaurant I raise my hand and make a gesture of signing in the air (signning for the credit card, I guess).
    To represent the act of giving money you crook your index finger and make a pince with it and your thumb (as if holding a bill). Then you hit with them the palm of the other hand. And sometimes you say 'Martín Martín' meaning you have to pay cash.
  34. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    Why "Martin"?
  35. jsvillar Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain
    No idea, I'll try to look for it in internet. An example would be: 'And you know, they don't give credit. It's Martín Martín (while you hit your hand as if you were holding bills in the other hand)'
  36. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    The gesture in Polish is as described in the first post. It might also be used to indicate that to achieve something, some palms had to be greased, if you know what I mean.
  37. guilaK

    guilaK Member

    It's exactly the same as the US in Iran.

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