Beyond our bold sense of humor and uncanny ability to create memes out of every life situation, we Arabs love to express ourselves with our hands. For instance, all Arabs know that if our mums stroke their chin while giving us a scary look, we’re in for a long lecture later on.
Hand gestures are super universal and communicate a bunch-load of information, which is why they’ve become go-to emojis on every smartphone.
What is great is that, along with the general gestures like the thumbs up and clap emojis, back in 2020, Apple included the first ever Arab hand gesture emoji, the “calm down” or “take it easy” gesture. It’s made by touching your fingertips while holding out your hand.
For a bit of fun, we’ve come up with some other popular Arab gestures we’d love to see appear on our keyboards soon.
The world is a weird place and it’s easy to hear things that’ll leave us flabbergasted or confused. That’s when this hand gesture comes in handy. Known as the sign used to communicate confusion, use it when you want to scream out to the other person, “What on Earth are you talking about?”
How it’s done: Take your hand, raise it up, and twist it 180 degrees in the air, making sure that three of your last fingers are up in the air.
I’ll Show You!
You know when you make a terrible mistake and your mum finds out? In the Arab world, if that happens, there’s a big chance you’ll be met with the wrath of the “Ana hawareek” or the “I’ll show you!” hand gesture.
How it’s done: Take your hands and stroke your chin in a slow motion and dramatic way. For added effect, widen your eyes to show them that you mean business.
We Arabs can sometimes be feisty and impatient, and so when we meet someone who really pushes our buttons, we sometimes revert to ending the conversation then and there. That’s when it’s time to tap into the “That’s It” gesture.
How it’s done: Take your hands and clap them in a crisscross motion to communicate this gesture.
A Warm “No Thank You”
We may have noticed that a lot of the gestures in this list are really all up in your face, but luckily, not all gestures in the Arab world share that quality. To give some love, we have a special gesture we use when someone offers us something and we don’t want it. It’s like a polite “No thank you” that carries with it respect and appreciation.
How it’s done: You take your hand and place it on your chest while giving the other person an appreciative smile or head nod. You can also tap your chest twice to indicate the same thing.
From This Eye To This Eye
Continuing the kind streak, this is another gesture that’s used when things are friendly with the person you’re talking to. We Arabs love to help each other out and sometimes would chase any opportunity to do so. That’s why we have a gesture for when someone asks us for a favor that simply means “My pleasure.”
How It’s done: You take your finger and point it at one eye and then the other.
I Swear To God
Tapping into our usual rage, this gesture is used when someone really gets on your nerves and you want to scare them off. That’s when you’d use the “Walahi” or “I swear to God” gesture to indicate that you’re not kidding around and that what you’re saying is for real.
How It’s done: You make the okay sign sideways and then start wagging your hand incessantly in front of the other person while saying “I swear to God.”
Now picture all these gestures making it on your keyboard? It’s a pretty satisfying feeling as, in many ways, these hand gestures are an innate part of our daily communication. Having them in our keyboards will make us better express ourselves and will make for some hilarious texts with family and friends.