Body Language

Obscene, to be used with extreme moderation!

Screw You

offensivegesture2.jpg (84582 bytes)

This is very similar to the American OK, but it's VERY obscene! It means "screw you" like the gesture in the picture above. There are countless jokes in Brazil about unknowning Americans making the OK sign to signify approval or pleasure. Please, train yourself to use the "thumbs up" sign instead. I remember years ago in Rio, we were at the movies and they were showing a newsreel before the film. When Richard Nixon appeared making the OK sign, some clown in the audience yelled "that's what he's doing to the American people." Everyone in the theater broke out in laughter, of course, and we were laughing for quite a while!


offensivegesture1.jpg (90600 bytes)

This is called "dar uma banana" or give a banana and it means "screw you!", so use your discretion...It's probably better to avoid it, so you don't get into a fight, but I always taught it to my students, as part of their general education in Brazilian culture.

The Finger or Up Yours

offensivegesture3.jpg (106608 bytes)

Same as in the U.S.

Saco Cheio

sacocheiogesture.jpg (71835 bytes)

Hold your cupped hands in front of your lower body and shake them. This gesture means "my balls are full" (the anatomical reference is clear...) and has become so commonplace that, depending on the circumstances, it's not obscene at all (and it's used by women also). It's best to avoid it, though.

Screw You or I Screwed Up

screwyougesture.jpg (84598 bytes)

Make a fist with one hand and slap the top of it with the other once or twice. It means screw you and "I got screwed" or "I screwed up" (like in a test or something, often accompanied by the expression "entrei pelo cano"). It's very commonplace among friends in informal contexts, but you'd better avoid this one, too.

Brazilian Body Language