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Any hand gesture that's become emblematic of the character, series, or situation in which it appears.

Cousin of Strange Salute. See also Character Tics.

Examples of Memetic Hand Gesture include:

Anime & Manga

  • Sailor Moon's sideways V-for-victory sign (while winking), as well as her thumb-index finger-pinky raised with both hands, called the "Tsuki ni kawatte oshiyoki yo" pose.
  • Gendo Ikari of Neon Genesis Evangelion. His trademark covering-the-mouth variant (which, coincidentally, cuts down on necessary animation) is often called "the Gendo pose". For a while, it was a popular imageboard pastime to add the "Gendo Hands" to existing works via Photoshop.
    • Gendo's two fingers to the bridge of his glasses is also trademark of him.
    • It even has its own trope
  • The Son family's Hand Behind Head from Dragonball Z.
  • Pokémon: Ash Ketchum's capture pose, complete with Pikachu popping up in a different pose and going "Pi pi ka chu!" He also does it when he gets a gym badge, with all the Pokémon that fought in that battle posing with him.
  • Macross Frontier: Ranka Lee's *sparkle* hand gesture.
  • Pointing one's arm straight up with the index finger extended is synonymous with Gurren Lagann and specifically piercing the heavens.


  • Spider-Man's web-shooting gesture.
  • Transmetropolitan: Spider Jerusalem lighting a cigarette, head slightly cocked, hand cupped in front of it. Hard to describe, but if you've seen a picture of him, you've seen him do this. Gets lampshaded in-series; at one point, Channon comments that Yelenna is turning into Spider, and while Yelenna's denying it, she makes this exact pose.

Image Boards

  • The 'Fgsfds' meme, a meme based around the hand gesture of one random person holding up their index finger, usually with their mouth open. It's intended to signal that a conversation has lost all traces of seriousness/sanity.
    • Allegedly stands for "For God's sake, fuck dis shit" though this may be a Backronym.


Live-Action TV

  • Red Dwarf's Arnold Rimmer and his Overly Long Gag Strange Salute procedures.
  • Mr. Saxon of Doctor Who gives this trope two thumbs up. So famous, the page image has served on at least four different pages.
  • Spike of Buffy fame once pulled a "V" Sign with the palm facing away from the intended target, which made it into the opening credits. It's infamous, because the American censors didn't realize the gesture is not a variation on the victory sign, but is actually an obscene gesture in certain countries, including Spike's native Britain. While not unique, it's rare on American TV.
  • Star Trek's Vulcan salute.
  • Adam Richman from the Travel Channel show Man v. Food is trying to establish one of these for when he starts one of the food challenges; it's not immediately obvious what it is.
    • It appears to be three signs. First, an "M," which he's done in two ways, either three or four fingers pointing down. If he uses four, the middle two stay together. Then, a "V". Last, an "F," formed by taking his right hand and extending the index and middle fingers horzontally, then using one finger on his left hand raised vertically to make the back of the F.
  • Carol Burnett pulling her ear at the end of her self-titled show.
  • The "Be Seeing You" gesture from The Prisoner.
  • The Apprentice: "You're fired!" Nicknamed "The Cobra"
  • Tendou Souji of Kamen Rider Kabuto always points to the sun when reciting his Catch Phrase.
    • Attempts at memetic hand gestures would become more frequent in later seasons. Kamen Rider Den-O is best known for spamming this half to death, with the four Imagin characters each displaying their own. The current season Kamen Rider Fourze does this with both the title character and some supporting ones, to the extent that a recent scene with all the characters tied up has one guy with his hands somehow bound into his memetic hand gesture.
  • Power Rangers SPD: Bridge likes his toast buttery, and can't help but wiggle his fingers whenever he says "buttery". When called on this, he denies it - only to realize it's still happening, even as he tries to stop himself.
  • Happy Days: Fonzie's "aaay!" thumbs up.

Professional Wrestling


  • Chinese Opera has a ton:
    • Female roles have long, flowing sleeves that they throw out in an arc during significant solos.
    • Older roles stroke their beard whenever they're plotting something.
    • Badass characters who have the feather hat (i.e. what Lu Bu is seen to wear in the Dynasty Warriors) series will hold one of the feather's in their hand during solos.
    • Son Wukong, in addition to a ton of monkey-like mannerisms (he'll scratch himself and pick imaginary ticks off his body, then "eat" them), is most often seen peering into the distance with his hand in an almost backwards military salute pose, to signify that he's using his telescopic vision.


  • Revolver Ocelot of Metal Gear Solid, honorary Trope Namer. His famous hand gesture was originally improvised by his motion capture actor; the directors decided to Throw It In, because they couldn't get enough of it. It's so memetic he uses his last breath to repeat the gesture in Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots.
    • Possibly memetic within the gameworld, too; in Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater, it's possible to see both The Boss and EVA doing the hand gesture.
    • At one interview, Hideo Kojima didn't even say Ocelot's name when revealing the Boss's son is in 3; he just did the gesture.
  • The vast majority of the poses and gestures made during court cases in Ace Attorney series.
  • The Legend of Zelda CDI Games: The King's 'mah boi' pose, where he points his finger upwards and has his eyes and mouth very wide open.
  • Mass Effect 2 has made the air quotes gesture memetic with its infamous line "Ah yes, 'Reapers'". It is often rendered with single quotes (and single fingers for air quotes), because the turian councilor who delivers the line only has three fingers per hand. If you are familiar with this meme, it is pretty much guaranteed that you will chuckle every time you see that gesture (and in Mass Effect 3 there are actually several characters who make it).
  • Holding an item above your head is iconic in a multitude of video games. Frequently lampshaded. While it predates Legend of Zelda, Legend of Zelda made it more famous.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Mario and the "V" Sign.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog's Finger Wag.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • The Queen's Wave, often attributed to HM Queen Elizabeth II is often used for royalty in British media.
  • The Nazi Roman salute, used anywhere a writer wants to say "these guys are evil".
    • Unless it's in the pre-World War Two United States and the people doing it recite the Pledge of Allegiance; that's the Bellamy Salute, and it's totally patriotic.
  • The Tomahawk Chop used at Atlanta Braves games (and several other stadiums with teams named after Native American themes).
  • Flipping the Bird, i.e., The Finger.
  • Winston Churchill's V for Victory, which inspired many of these, including:
  • "The horns", international symbol of Metal. The exact same sign is also used by fans of the Texas Longhorns American football team, leading to much confusion.
    • In some parts of the world it's the "cuckold's horns" -- read: "Your wife/girlfriend is cheating on you."
      • Probably worth mentioning it started out as a sign to invoke/ward off horned demons and devils of various calibers.
  • The Wiggles
  • Bro Fist!
  • "Air quotes"
  • The Christian "Sign of the Cross", which goes: Forehead, stomach, left shoulder, right shoulder (Right-to-Left in the Eastern Orthodox churches). Aside from the obvious geometrical shape of the Cross, the points correspond to the prayer that goes with it: "In the name of the Father (head = knowledge/thought) and of the Son (womb = son) and of the Holy Spirit (arms = empowerment)." A number of popes have also held that the downward motion is indicative of Jesus' descent from Heaven to Earth, with a number of interpretations for the right-to-left/left-to-right motion.
    • Or, as 1980s British Comedy Nuns on the Run had it, "Spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch".
  • The nerdfighter salute. It is accomplished by making a Vulcan salute (1st two fingers together and last two fingers together, forming a V, with the thumb extended to the side) with each hand and crossing the arms over the chest. Can also be a plain old Vulcan salute like in the page image.
  • The military salute, a flat palm held at the brim of one's hat.
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