Wiki Wednesday #4

25 04 2007

It’s time for this week’s installment.

1.) Go to Wikipedia.
2.) Click on “Random article.”
3.) Report on the outcome.

Here’s this week’s result:

Thumbs Up

A Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down is a common gesture represented by a closed fist held with the thumb extended upward or downward in approval or disapproval respectively. These gestures have become metaphors in English: “My boss gave my proposal the thumbs-up” means that the boss approved the proposal, regardless of whether the gesture was made — indeed, the gesture itself is unlikely in a formal business setting.

Wow, for a change of pace, I actually know what this entry is about. And so do you. Still, it’s pretty cool that the entry, which goes on for quite a bit, actually exists. Did you know that the genesis of the gesture is uncertain? Or that the phrase existed in ancient Rome? (Wikipedia cautions that it’s not “certain that the contemporary gestures are identical to the gestures performed” back then. How else might the gesture be performed? Hmmm.)

The entry even has a reference to Fonzie on Happy Days. But, um, was he really giving thumbs-up-style approval for anything when he did that “aaaay” thing?

Be careful out there. In many parts of the world, the gesture has a negative—”Up yours, pal!”—connotation. And perhaps even scarier, at Texas A&M University, the thumbs-up sign seems to mean “Gig ’em, Aggies.”

By the way, if the gesture is “unlikely in a formal business setting,” should I stop doing it at work? How about if I actually mean “gig ’em”?

Just wondering.

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