Brazilian Hand Gestures

Brazilian Hand GesturesBrazilians are very expressive and emotional people. They have a great sense of humor and love people. When you see a Brazilian talking you will probably see his hands moving and making different gestures. Learn some of these gestures and you will be sure to impress your Brazilian friends and make them smile!



Come here: Turn your palm up or down. Flex you fingers out and back a couple times. They also make this sound along with the gesture “psiu psiu”.





Telephone call: Put your fist up to the side of your face with your pinkie finger and thumb extended to show that someone is on the phone. This is also used for call me.






Warning or disbelief: Gently pull the bottom of your eye lid down with your index finger. This means “be careful” or “watch out”. It is used when someone doesn’t believe or trust a situation or person.





Disbelief: Tap your fingers under your chin. This means “papo-furado” which implies someone doesn’t know what they are talking about.




Let’s eat: Point your fingers to your mouth then bend them up and down a few times, which means that the food is ready or let’s eat!





Let’s have a Coffee: Hold your thumb and index finger together about 2 inches apart in front of your mouth. This indicates and invitation to have a “cafezinho” a small cup of dark coffee or espresso.





Let’s have a beer: Hold your hand in a fist with your thumb pointing towards your mouth. This is an invitation to go have a beer “cerveja” or a draft beer “chopinho”.





Delicious: Tug your earlobe when you think something is delicious! This gesture is not as common as it used to be.





Great or cool: A thumbs up sign means something is really good.





The good life: Put your thumbs under your armpits and move your fingers. This means that someone has it made or living well!





Jealousy: Rub your elbow with one hand to suggest jealousy. The slang for this is “dor de cotovelo” which literally means a pain in the elbow. There are many Brazilian songs that mention this phrase in them.





Crazy: Hold your index finger to your temple and move it in circles. This means a person is crazy “louco” in Portuguese.





Friendship: Rub your two index fingers together to signify closeness or friendship.





Bad driver: Rub the front of your fingers to your cheek to suggest someone is a bad driver.  This gesture is not as common as it used to be.  They call someone that is a bad driver a  barber “barbeiro” and the fingers rub against the cheek to resemble a blade shaving off one’s beard like a barber does.




Expensive: Rub your thumb and index finger together to show that something is expensive or that you need money.





No: Hold your index finger up and shake your hand from side to side to indicate no. This is very common.





Don’t care: Hold your hands in front of you palms up, hit your fingers on the top and bottom changing hands to express you don’t know or don’t care.





Full: Hold one hand in front of you palm up. Bring your fingers and thumb together to indicate a place if packed full of people. This is used a lot by taxi drivers when their car is already full.





Speed or fast: Hold your thumb and middle finger together. Shake your hand hard so that the finger and thumb make a snap. This means hurry or fast.





Obscene: The American okay sign inverted is very vulgar in Brazil. It is the same as giving the middle finger in the U.S. It is best to avoid the American okay sign to be sure you don’t use it wrong and use the Brazilian okay sign which is the thumbs up.
Brazilians enjoy it when foreigners take the time to learn some of their phrases and use their slang or gestures. Try some of these out on your next trip there. Enjoy the fun spirited and friendly people of Brazil!

Brought to you by: World Cup Brazil 2014


  1. Rafael says:

    Excelente! Or, excellent? :)

  2. mauro says:

    Regarding the “obscene” gesture, I think that there is a slight difference from the American OK one. Instead of having the 3 fingers up, you have the circle formed by the index finger and the thumb up.

    • Georgia Freitas says:

      This is true. The American Ok sign is very different.

      • Torres says:

        Both the american OK gesture and the one shown in the image can be considered obscene, yet you will hardly see someone using this to taunt someone or whatever. I don’t see anyone doing it like in years, if it wasn’t because this article, I wouldn’t even remember that. lol

      • Ana Luisa says:

        But both here in Brazil is obscene. No matter how the 3 other fingers are.

  3. mauro says:

    …you have the circle formed by the index finger and the thumb FACING up

    • Ronnie Freitas says:


      Correct! That’s why we put “inverted” in the article or upside down…

  4. dia says:

    Great article, but please make a video – it is hard to imagine what these gestures are like without seeing them.

    • Georgia Freitas says:

      You are correct. I had planned to put a photo by each gesture. I think I will do that soon!

  5. Rodrigo says:

    I’ve never seen the “bad driver” gesture. I don’t think it makes much sense…

    • J says:

      It’s a gesture that indicates the other driver to be “barbeiro” (beard guy, or somehting like that), a word used for people who can’t drive properly.

      • Georgia Freitas says:

        Thanks for this explanation!

      • Fabio says:

        “barbeiro” mens barber. The sign is the same as a barbar making someone beard.
        why calling a bad driver a barber is a long story.

        • Raphael Motta says:

          Its more like, ” Hey as a driver he is a good hair dresser” and it probably stuch over time.

  6. Marcelo says:

    This made me lol’ed;

  7. Marco says:

    In this video a brasilian girl show to us that some brasilian hand gestures don’t works in Japan.
    00:58 – FULL
    01:27 – LEAVING – “VAZANDO”
    01:47 – GREAT

  8. Marco says:
  9. Marco says:
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  11. José Nascimento says:

    Regarding the “bad driver” sign, maybe it would help if there were a small explanation on where that sign came from. Brazilians usually call (although it’s not too common anymore) a bad driver “barbeiro” (“barber”), and the fingers rubbed against the cheek resemble to a blade shaving one’s beard — just like a barber does.

  12. Lucas says:

    The ‘Come Here’ gesture it’s wrong. It only means ‘come here’ if you have you fingers up, and not down. When you put your hands in the position of the photo, and move your hand slightly up and down a couple of times it’s a ‘discret’ gesture for saying that someone is #@*!ing ..

    • Marcus says:

      haha this guy’s right. If you make a cup form with your hand, palm facing UP, and flex your fingers, you’re saying “come on”, if you do it with you palm facing DOWN, and instead of flexing you move it like rubbing a ball, you’re saying “sex”.

  13. Vagner says:

    Very Nice.

  14. Zoe says:

    There is also the ‘V’ gesture made with your index and middle finger (palm facing outward) to many this would mean peace but in Brazil it means ‘V for victory’.

    Some may find that helpful… :)

  15. Raphael Motta says:

    Hahaha, I’m from Brazil and althouhg I know some people use these I have never used half of them myself. But hey its a realy big country so things can change from place to place.

  16. Alessandra says:

    I’m brazilian, I live in Brazil and I didn’t know many of these gestures ! Now I know ! Thanks :)

  17. Vini says:

    I’m a 17 years old male brazilian and I have never seen people using some of these gestures, like the “Disbelief”, the “Delicious”, the “Good life”, the “Jealousy”, the “Bad driver”, the “Expensive”, the “Full” and the “Coffee” ones.
    You will look stupid if you make these gestures, I guess. haha
    The “Expensive” one means just “money” and the “Come here” one is never made with the palm faced down.

    • Ana says:

      Vini and João, in which part of Brazil do you live? I am Brazilian (from the state of São Paulo) and I know all these gestures… and I have seen people using them.

      I think this text is very good. It provides useful information for foreigners. The main purpose of the text is not to teach people how to make the gestures, but rather to teach the MEANING of each gesture. If you see somebody doing a gesture, you would like to know what it means…

      May I suggest a few more Brazilian gestures? I am going to write the expression in Portuguese (you probably know the gesture that goes along with the expression):

      – Já estou por aqui com isso! [putting the hand under the chin]
      – Vou nessa! [closing and opening the fingers of the hand]
      – Aqui pra vocês! [showing the arm, with the hand closed]

  18. Joao says:

    Seriously, DON’T DO THAT in Brazil guys. In theory, the gestures are right but NO ONE use them in the daily life. Trust me.

  19. HUEHUE BRBR says:

    Eu sou brasileiro, não acredito que vi essas coisas. Brasileiros não usam a maioria dos gestos que tem ai para se comunicar, no máximo num tipo de linguagem informal entre amigos, como uma especie de código.
    Mas até que é engraçado.

  20. Ueritom says:

    Do you know where I can find equivalent content for American and/or British gestures?



  21. niecey says:

    this is bullll lmfao lemme stoppp doeeeee . thanks for tha info ma ! (;

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