I wonder if the sign of horns (holding up the first and fourth fingers) shows a positive or offending meaning. Can you please provide the meaning of this in other countries, in particular Australia?

From Wikipedia - jpatokal's link.

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    Is there a reason you're unsure about its offensiveness? Is it offensive where you live? Why are you asking? May 3, 2017 at 13:53
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    I'm 99% sure it's not, but you do have to be careful about the peace sign.
    – Jeutnarg
    May 3, 2017 at 15:24
  • Most Australians would associate the horns with heavy music. However, I'm not sure what @Jeutnarg is referring to regarding the peace sign. It's not an offensive sign in Australia; perhaps you could elaborate on why you have to be careful about it?
    – Andrakis
    May 3, 2017 at 16:09
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    @Andrakis the peace sign made with the palm facing your audience is not bad, but if you flip it and face the back of your hand to the audience, then it's a still/static version of the hand gesture for 'up yours'. If you happen to be doing the double-peace flip, like a teenager (me, a decade ago) might, then you really will be making the 'up yours' gesture. Luckily, my relatives knew that I was American and didn't mean it that way.
    – Jeutnarg
    May 3, 2017 at 16:26
  • @Jeutnarg A long long time ago (when I was early high school in oz) a teacher chastised me because she misinterpreted my "thumbs up" sign for an "up yours" sign - which technically it can be. Hand signs around the world can be extremely local and a minefield for the un-aware.
    – Peter M
    May 6, 2017 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


I presume you're referring to the sign of the horns, in which case, no, that would not be considered offensive in Australia. It's not really used or understood either: in seven years of living here, I've never seen anybody make the sign, unless they were also holding it above their head, sticking their tongue out and moshing their head to actual or figurative heavy metal music.

The only exception could be among people of Italian or Greek descent, who might recognise the offensive meaning, but the vast majority of these groups are second or third generation by now and thoroughly Australianised.

  • 3
    The sign originated in those sorts of European countries as a way to ward off evil. However, it was popularised by Dio who appropriated it from a relative (a grandmother?). Today, most people associate it with heavy music, and as an Australian I've only seen it used in musical contexts.
    – Andrakis
    May 3, 2017 at 16:14
  • As a Greek (and metalhead as well :P )I can say that this sign is not offensive in our country. I don't know if something different applies to Australianised Greeks though...
    – papakias
    May 4, 2017 at 10:13

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