The Truth About Scalia’s Hand Gesture

By
March 27, 2006

I decided to take the scholarly route to look into Scalia’s hand gesture, as reported by the Boston Herald. Turns out, it really isn’t that bad. There are several interpretations offered, none of them considered on par with giving someone the finger. None of them are described as obscene.

This gesture, often called the "chin flick," is widely used among Italians and persons of Italian ancestry. It is a gesture of contempt, somewhat less rude than giving a person "the finger." When used in the United States, it usually means "Bug off, I’ve had enough of you." Not a polite gesture, but not a particularly hostile one, either.

"The Chin Flick gesture, in which the backs of the fingers are swept upwards and forwards against the underside of the chin, is an insulting action in both France and northern Italy. There it means ‘Get lost-you are annoying me.’ In southern Italy it also has a negative meaning, but the message it carries is no longer insulting. It now says simply ‘There is nothing’ or ‘No’ or ‘I cannot’ or ‘I don’t want any’. This switch takes place between Rome and Naples and gives rise to the intriguing possibility that the difference is due to a surviving influence of ancient Greece.

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Comments:
  1. Did Scalia Give The Media The Finger At Church?

    The Boston Herald, and several liberal blogs are reporting with headlines that would suggest Scalia flipped the finger to the media after being questioned after attending Mass if his religious views can be in conflict with Separation of Church and Sta…

  2. COLUMBO says:

    ..i.. ..i..

  3. Justice Scalia Gives Finger to Reporters in Church?

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    The Boston Herald reports on breaking news. Justice Scalia attended mass yesterday. Ok, actually the news is that Scalia gave what journalist Laurel Sweet refers to as an obscene gesture under his chin after bein…

  4. Scalia Flips Fingers, Liberals Flip Out

    Apparently Justice Scalia used an Italian hand gesture when a reporter questioned his “impartiality when it comes to matters of church and state” as he exited from a special Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston on…

  5. mgrfin says:

    I grew up in Brooklyn, and among the Sicilians, such a gesture means, ‘fuck you’.
    So, it’s where youre from. Is Scalia from Brooklyn?

  6. MrsLevy says:

    I’m from Chicago where that gesture means “go fuck yourself”.
    MrsLevy

  7. tester says:

    Sounds like a Rove one liner to me. Dick seems to like it.

  8. boldt says:

    It’s Italian, and means “I don’t want any”, “Go Away”, and “You are Annoying me”.