Where Do “Thumbs Up” Come From? 👍

3 min read

Morning Thumb Havers!

Thumbs up are everywhere in the modern world.

Online like buttons use thumbs up.

Hitchhikers use thumbs up to hitch a ride.

And if someone asks you “you good?” you can just hit em with the:

But where does this strange action come from?

Well, in the Roman times, a thumbs up meant death for a gladiator.

If the referee decided maybe the gladiator should be spared, he would press his thumb to the top of his fist.

Like this:

But if it was up…

Like this:

Bye, bye gladiator.

Fast forwarding a little bit to the middle ages, thumbs up began to gain its positive meaning.

See, English archers had this little trick used to measure the correct brace height for a longbow.

Using a fist with a thumb up.

And so it came to mean:

Also medieval merchants would seal a deal by licking their thumbs and pressing them together.

And so it also came to mean:

But there was one thing that really popularized it.

During World War II, allied fighter pilots used the “thumbs up” gesture to indicate “chocks away” when they were ready for takeoff.

And it's thought that American GIs spread this thumbs up gesture all throughout Europe.

Even today, Italians call it… the American OK.

This eventually spread literally everywhere.

And now a thumbs up, basically just means… “Thumbs up!”

Stay Cute,
Reece, Henry & Dylan 🌈

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