Brazilians use a lot of gestures in informal communication, and the meaning of certain words or expressions may be influenced by them.
- The thumbs up gesture is used to mean everything's OK, yes or even thanks. Avoid using the OK hand gesture for these meanings, as it can be considered obscene.
- The Shaka gesture is common on the coast of Brazil, and is known as the "hang loose" sign.
- Wagging your extended index finger back and forth and/or clicking your tongue behind your teeth two or three times means no
- Using your index finger to pull down one of your lower eyelids means watch out.
- Stroking your two biggest fingers with your thumb is a way of saying that something is expensive.
- Snapping a few times means fast or a long time (ago).
- Stroking your lips and then snapping means delicious; pinching your earlobe means the same in some regions.
- Making a fist with your thumb between the index and middle finger, known as the figa, is a sign of good or bad luck depending on the region.
- Touching the palm with the thumb and making a circular movement with the hand means I am being robbed/ripped off/ in some regions.
- The hush gesture is considered extremely impolite, about the same as shouting "shut up!" to someone.
- An informal way to get someone's attention, similar to a whistle, is a hissing sound: "pssiu!" It is not perceived as unpolite, but gets really annoying if repeated too often.