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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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CUSTOM

IT IS VERY DISCOURTEOUS TO SHAKE A FINGER AT
A THAI. IT IS ALSO DISCOURTEOUS TO POINT AT
A THAI.

Where learned: THAILAND

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
SPEECH -- Respect
SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: 03-00-1971

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TAPPING YOUR FINGERS ON A TABLE CAN MEAN EITHER
IMPATIENCE OR BOREDOM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: 11-16-1967

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TO SHOW DISGUST WITH SOMETHING OR SOMEONE, ONE HITS
HIS RIGHT SHOULDER WITH HIS LEFT HAND AND EXTENDS
HIS RIGHT ARM STRAIGHT OUT.

James Callow comment: POLISH?

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; ERIE

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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I (POINT TO I) THINK (POINT TO YOUR HEAD) YOU (POINT TO ANOTHER PERSON) STINK (HOLD YOUR NOSE).

Submitter comment: THIS INVOLVES ALL GESTURES--NO SOUNDS OR WORDS.

Where learned: OHIO ; TOLEDO

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of quantity or weight
SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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DERISIVE GESTURE

WHEN SOMEONE MAKES A REMARK INTENDED TO BE SARCASTIC OR
FUNNY, BUT YOU DON'T THINK IT WAS, YOU TURN TO THEM
AND SAY, "DO YOU KNOW HOW FUNNY THAT WAS? THIS FUNNY."
YOU THEN HOLD UP ONE HAND INDICATING A SPACE (VERY
SMALL) BETWEEN YOUR THUMB AND FOREFINGER INDICATING
AN AMOUNT OF FUNNY (OR FUNNINESS I GUESS YOU SAY).

Submitter comment: EXPLAINED BY INFORMANT AFTER HAVING USED IT ON
COLLECTOR. INFORMANT SAYS SEVERAL OF HER FRIENDS
USE THIS GESTURE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; VARSITY NEWS OFFICE

James Callow Keyword(s): HUMOR

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: 10-00-1966

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Entry filtered.

MIDDLE (LARGEST) FINGER RAISED FROM CLINCHED FIST
MEANS "FUCK YOU."

Submitter comment: PARDON MY "FRENCH."

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn
Filter - Mature Content
Filter - Mature Content

Date learned: 12-00-1971

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ITALIAN GESTURE

BY CHUCKING CHIN FROM BODY OUTWARD WITH THE RIGHT
HAND MEANS "I DON'T GIVE A DMAN."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROSEVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: 02-17-1970

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ITALIAN GESTURE

WHEN AN ITALIAN FORMS A FIST AND THEN RAISES HIS
SECOND AND FIFTH FINGERS--IT LITERALLY MEANS "YOUR
MOTHER SLEEPS WITH ANOTHER MAN." IT IS THE
HIGHEST FORM OF INSULT AN ITALIAN CAN GIVE.

James Callow Keyword(s): ADULTERY

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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ITALIAN VULGAR GESTURE

THE ITALIAN GESTURE EQUIVALENT TO THE AMERICAN
"FINGER" (THE CENTER FINGER OF THE LEFT HAND POINTED
UPWARD) WHICH MEANS "FUCK YOU" IS TO STRIKE THE LEFT
ARM JUST ABOVE THE ELBOW WITH THE FIST OF THE
RIGHT HAND. THE FOREARM (LEFT) SWINGS UPWARD.

Where learned: ITALY

Keyword(s): DEROGATORY TERM ; INTERCOURSE

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn
Filter - Mature Content

Date learned: 00001969 FALL

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WHEN PEOPLE ARE MAD, SOMETIMES ITALIANS, THEY SHAKE
THEIR CLENCHED FIST AT THE PERSON THEY ARE MAD AT.

Where learned: PORT CHESTER ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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ACT OF DISDAIN

ITALIAN GESTURE FORMED BY PUTTING HAND UNDER CHIN
AND THEN THRUSTING IT OUTWARD--THIS SIGNIFIES DISDAIN.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN ; ITALY, ASSUMED

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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FLICKING THE NAIL OF YOUR THUMB OUT FROM UNDER YOUR
FRONT TEETH AT A PERSON IS TELLING THEM TO GO TO HELL.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT IS ITALIAN AND GOT THE GESTURE FROM HIS
PARENTS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; RESTAURANT

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: 10-28-1971

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THE DEATH SIGN OF THE MAFIA IS MADE BY SNAPPING YOUR
THUMBNAIL ON YOUR TWO UPPER FRONT TEETH.

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: 11-02-1967

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SCREW JOB

AN ITALIAN GESTURE FORMED BY CLENCHING FIST WITH ARM
IN A POSITION SIMILAR TO AN ARM IN A SLING. THE
WHOLE ARM IS THEN JERKED BACK AND SLIGHTLY OUTWARD.
THIS SIGNIFIES THAT SOMEONE HAS SCREWED ME OR
JEWED ME.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Keyword(s): DEROGATORY TERM

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn
PROVERB -- Blason Populaire
Filter - Mature Content

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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Entry filtered.

ONE HAND IN THE CROOK OF THE OTHER RAISED (CLENCHED
FIST) ARM MEANS "FUCK YOU" IN ITALIAN.

Submitter comment: PARDON MY "FRENCH"

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): FRENCH, IN THIS CASE, MEANS BAD LANGUAGE. ; INTERCOURSE

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn
Filter - Mature Content

Date learned: 12-00-1971

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DERISIVE GESTURE USED BY GERMANS AND ITALIANS IN
DISAPPROVAL OF OTHER'S DRIVING HABITS IS:
FINGERS TOGETHER, PALM OPEN, SLIGHTLY WAVERING
IN FRONT OF OWN FACE.
USUALLY ACCOMPANIED BY OBSCENITIES, PROBABLY UNIVER-
SALLY EUROPEAN.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: 12-00-1971

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Entry filtered.

PEACE WITH A LITTLE
PIECE ON SIDE.

Data entry tech comment: DIAGRAM OF HAND GESTURE ON 5 X 8 CARD: THUMB AND RING

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): INTERCOURSE=PIECE ; SLANG

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn
Filter - Mature Content

Date learned: 11-02-1971

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THERE WAS A GESTURE AT THURSTON HIGH THAT WAS USED
TO DESCRIBE STUDENTS WHO WERE CONSIDERED WEIRD.
{HOMOSEXUAL} YOU BEND YOUR WRIST AT THE JOINT AND
LET YOUR HAND HANG LIMP AND ALONG WITH THIS, YOU
LISP, "OH THAY {SAY}, FELLA."

Submitter comment: THIS WAS DURING THE YEARS 1967-1970.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; WALSH COLLEGE

Keyword(s): GAY

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: 03-31-1970

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READ IN BETWEEN THE LINES.

Data entry tech comment: DIAGRAM OF HAND WITH MIDDLE THREE FINGERS RAISED AND

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: 03-11-1971

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WAVING THE SMALL FINGER--BITCH, BITCH, BITCH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: 03-11-1971

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