Gestures that vary by country

Worksheet 1 – Miming

Choose one of the gestures below and mime it until your partner guesses what it represents.


Go away

Come here


Money/ cash

(I’m) sad

Time out

Cut/ time up/ stop speaking

(You are/ he is) crazy

(Waiter) the bill/ check (please)



Me/ I

A drink

(A cup of) tea




I don’t know


(I’m) stupid/ stupid me!

Mind your own business/ don’t interfere

A girl/ woman/ lady/ she

(You’re) late

I swear/ I promise

(They are) together

Zero/ nought/ nothing

A bribe/ a backhander/ money under the table

(This/ that is/ was) delicious/ tasty

One more time/ repeat

(It’s) great/ wonderful

(I) doubt (it)/ (I’m) not sure

Snob/ superior/ arrogant

Be quiet/ shut up


Hi/ hello

(Just) talk/ talkative



I hope/ I wish/ good luck


Gestures that vary by country Worksheet 2

Discuss how you could make each gesture in an easy to understand way.

Discuss how the gestures above vary from vary to country

Could any of the gestures you use be misunderstood or considered rude in another country?

What might these gestures mean in different countries?

Thumbs up

Thumbs down

Raising your eyebrows

Cutting your palm across your neck

Making a circle with your thumb and index finger

Pointing at someone with your index finger (first finger)

Put your index fingers together side by side

Show your index and middle finger

Point to your nose


PDF for easy saving and printing: GesturesThatVary

Related pages

Body language and gestures page

Cultural training main page

4 Responses to Gestures that vary by country

  1. Pamela Ferner says:

    Ir would be great if there were accompanying pics of the different gestures – and which countries use which gestures and what they mean in these countries.

  2. alexcase says:

    It would indeed, but with a full time teaching job and posting new worksheets and articles every month I doubt I’ll find time…

    Some of that info is in my other gestures worksheets:

    and there’s also a good book on the topic:

  3. alexcase says:

    And of course you could always rewrite it to just include the ones you know.

  4. Deniece says:

    Thank you for these. Very helpful.

Leave a comment (link optional and email never shared)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.