17 Jan 5 common North American gestures that can cause offense abroad
“Talk to the hand”. In Greece this gesture is used to denote displeasure towards the recipient. It is said to be a remnant of Byzantine times, when people could taunt shackled criminals by smearing their faces with excrement.
“Victory”. With the palm facing outward, this V means victory in England, or peace in North America. Too bad the back-handed V sign means “screw you” in most of the English-speaking world.
“Thumb up”. It is especially problematic in certain parts of the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia, where the thumbs up is a more aggressive gesture that is basically flipping the birdie to someone.
“Bull Horns”. In Italy this gesture means that a man’s wife is being unfaithful, and he is a fool because of it.
SMILE! IT IS UNIVERSAL!