Only In Gest- The top 20 most irritating hand gestures:


The finger-flicking inverted commas motion has been hailed as the most irritating hand gesture.

The ‘speech marks’ action, created by curling the index and middle finger of both hands to emphasise a word with a hint of irony, beat the ‘talk to the hand’ gesture as the most aggravating part of our daily communication.

Other non-obscene gestures guaranteed to make the blood boil include the finger to the nose depicting ‘none of your business’ and ‘blah blah blah’ where people touch their thumb and forefinger to imitate a chatty mouth.

Some can be seen as patronising or unnecessarily dramatic, which is probably why so many of us find them a little tedious

A spokesman for iPhone app Goggle Eyes

Rounding off the top five non-verbal annoyances is ‘the pistol’ – where two fingers and thumb are used to form a gun.

The study of 2,000 Brits was commissioned to mark the launch of iPhone app Goggle Eyes.

Other irksome actions include:

  • ‘I’m watching you’ (fingers to eye);
  • ‘Zip it’ where a person pretends to zip up their mouth to tell someone to stop talking;
  • ‘Money’ where a person rubs their fingers and thumb to signify cash.

A spokesman for iPhone app Goggle Eyes said:

“We all use hand gestures to express ourselves from time to time and some have a stronger place in our daily communication than others.

“Some can be seen as patronising or unnecessarily dramatic, which is probably why so many of us find them a little tedious.

“The ‘speech marks’ gesture is often used to emphasise sarcasm, which is arguably a big part of the British sense of humour, but it’s clearly an action that irritates more than it does amuse.”

Brits also find the traditional ‘call me’ motion unbearable, where the hand is used to represent a phone.

Placing two arched hands together to form a heart shape is too sickly for the majority of people who voted it firmly into the top 20, and asking someone to email you by wiggling your fingers on an imaginary keyboard is also an annoying no-no.

The research by Goggle Eyes – where a staring monkey follows the user’s eye and head movement – also found one in four people actively try to stop themselves from using hand gestures where possible.

It emerged however that the average person still uses four hand gestures a day, with one in five admitting they’re embarrassed at the amount they rely on them.

In fact, over a third of the study said they’re less likely to trust someone who they feel uses too many hand gestures, while more than half the study has become annoyed at someone who talks with their hands too much.

The Goggle Eyes spokesman added:

“While a hand gesture can be a powerful communication tool, using too many or simply some of the more annoying ones is a sure-fire way to losing credibility.

“Most of the more irritating gestures originated out of a need to communicate quickly and transcend language barriers – but it doesn’t take much for a gesture to seem cheesy or informal.

“It’s about being able to recognise how to use gestures and for which audiences – sometimes they’re funny and entertaining but, often, they’re just annoying.”

The survey also revealed gestures that Brits still found useful, including signing for a drink, signalling for the bill at a restaurant or shushing someone with a finger to your lips.


1.     Inverted commas

2.     Talk to the hand

3.     None of your business

4.     Blah blah blah

5.     The pistol

6.     Hand punching

7.     I’m watching you

8.     Call me

9.     Fake yawn

10.  Cutthroat

11.  Zip it

12.  Time out

13.  Money

14.  Peace

15.  Cuckoo crazy

16.  Heart

17.  Direct point

18.  No no

19.  Email me

20.  Salute