10 Obscene Hand Gestures From Around the World

The Outward Hand
The old "talk to the hand" gestures is a rude one in any country — just ruder in some places than others. © 2015 HowStuffWorks, a division of Infospace LLC

"Talk to the hand. ('Cause the face ain't listening.)" This popular American phrase began in the 1990s, and was accompanied by a gesture — thrusting out your hand toward another, with fingers spread and the palm out. While only mildly rude in the U.S., the gesture is very nasty and even confrontational in other lands.

It's most popularly associated with Greece, where it's called the moutza. Those who give the moutza often accompany the gesture by saying, "Na!" which means, "Here you go!" Supposedly the gesture has its roots in ancient Byzantium, where people shamed criminals by scooping up cinders (moutzos) in their hands and then rubbing them on the offenders' faces. Some say dirt or feces also were used. In addition to Greece, the gesture is unwelcome in parts of Africa and in Pakistan.

While the Japanese don't employ the moutza, they have a very similar gesture with the thumb tucked in. Incidentally, the moutza's basic meaning is an aggressive, "To hell with you!" or something stronger [sources: Language Trainers, Link, Heddleston].