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Ok gesture

The meaning of «ok gesture»

The OK gesture or OK sign or ring gesture (Unicode symbol U+1F44C "👌") is performed by connecting the thumb and index into a circle, and holding the other fingers straight or relaxed away from the palm. Commonly used by divers, it signifies "I am OK" or "Are you OK?" when underwater. In most English-speaking countries it denotes approval, agreement, and that all is well or "okay". In other contexts or cultures, similar gestures may have different meanings or connotations including those that are negative, offensive, financial, numerical, devotional, political,[1] or purely linguistic.

Ring gestures, formed by forefinger and thumb with remaining digits extended, appear in Greece at least as early as the fifth century BCE, and can be seen on painted vases as an expression of love, with thumb and forefinger mimicking kissing lips. When proffered by one person toward another in Ancient Greece, the gesture was of one professing their love for another, and the sentiment was conveyed more in the touching of fingertips than in the ring that they formed.[2] As an expression of assent and approval, the gesture can be traced back to first century Rome where the rhetorician Quintilian is recorded as having used it.[3] Quintilian's chironomy prescribed variations in context for the gesture's use during specific points of a speech: to open, give warning or praise or accusation, and then to close a declamation.[2]

Contemporaneously the sign appeared throughout the Buddhist and Hindu diasporas as a symbol of inner perfection. Ethologist Desmond Morris posits that the joined thumb-and-forefinger communicates precision in grasping something literally or figuratively, and that the shape formed by their union represents the epitome of perfection—a circle—hence the gesture's transcultural message that things are "exactly right" or "perfect".[4]

In Naples the gesture has been long used to symbolize love and matrimony, as was custom in neighboring Greece, but specifically with the palm upturned, while the gesture made with a downturned palm represents a hand holding the scales of justice.[2][5] Across Italy the gesture remained in use as one for making points in conversation when moved about to express discursive precision, but when held still in an upright position with fingers jutting skyward, it became an emblem of perfection.[2]

Early records of the sign's usage in the English-speaking world date to British physician-philosopher John Bulwer's 1644 Chirologia, "The naturall language of the hand composed of the speaking motions, and discoursing gestures thereof."[6] Among the many hand gestures detailed by Bulwer, he described one as "The top of the fore-finger moved to joyne with the naile of the Thumbe that's next to it, the other fingers in remitter,"[7] and said that it was "opportune for those who relate, distinguish, or approve".[8]

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