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Sat Aug 30, 2014, 04:03 PM

The OK gesture, if done in Germany, is considered rude by some Germans

The "OK" gesture (tip of thumb touching tip of index finger) is considered rude by some as it refers to a bodily orifice.


http://www.quora.com/Germany/What-are-some-cultural-faux-pas-a-visitor-to-Germany-might-make

I had no idea.

10 replies, 6527 views

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Reply The OK gesture, if done in Germany, is considered rude by some Germans (Original post)
steve2470 Aug 2014 OP
JVS Aug 2014 #1
Ron Obvious Aug 2014 #2
steve2470 Aug 2014 #3
DFW Aug 2014 #4
steve2470 Aug 2014 #5
DFW Aug 2014 #9
Archae Aug 2014 #6
OriginalGeek Aug 2014 #7
Leith Aug 2014 #8
nuxvomica Aug 2014 #10

Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 04:14 PM

1. That's not exclusive to Germany

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 04:15 PM

2. It's worse if you stick your finger in the OK sign and slide it in and out...

I'm suddenly reminded of a story I heard on NPR shortly after the invasion of Iraq. An American soldier was interviewed who said that the local Iraqies seemed to approve of their presence, as they were greeted by "thumbs up" signs wherever they went.

The story was immediately followed by another one explaining some cultural differences in which it was mentioned that a "thumbs up" in Arab culture was equivalent to a raised middle finger to an American.

The juxtaposition of those stories made me giggle at the time.

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Response to Ron Obvious (Reply #2)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 05:36 PM

3. great example of cultural differences ! nt

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 06:59 PM

4. Neither did I

And I am married to a German and have lived in Germany for years.

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Response to DFW (Reply #4)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 07:33 PM

5. ah so the article is in error

Always valuable to talk to the "natives". Hope you are doing splendid, my friend !

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #5)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 08:39 AM

9. I don't know for sure that the article is wrong

There are still a lot a regional differences in Germany, even 140 years after Bismarck. Maybe in some other part, the gesture means something else. But in our area, the northwest, no one has ever reacted negatively to the gesture.

I'm back, but the weather sucks. It's in the 50s (F of course) and raining. I should have stayed a little longer in Virginia!

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 08:20 PM

6. Our symbol for "Stop" in Greece is "Shit in your face."

Holding the hand out with fingers up.

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Response to Archae (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 02:11 AM

7. lolwat!?

What's going on over there that they NEED a symbol for "shit in your face"?

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 02:15 AM

8. In Japan

It means birth control. Concoms, in particular.

Our childish game of "got your nose," with the thumb sticking out between the index and middle fingers is considered obscene in Japan. It is said to resemble female genitalia. Yikes!

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 08:50 AM

10. That was the meaning when I was kid

Among kids, it was a way of calling someone an "asshole". I'm not sure whether it had the same meaning for adults as there was no internet in the 1960s; kids and adults had separate cultures.

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