October 25, 2023 · ,

Best Guide to Argentine Hand Gestures


argentine hand gestures

A large part of the Argentine population are descendants of Italian immigrants, who came to this country during the late 1800s and early 1900s. You can see the Italian influences in many aspects of the Argentine culture, especially when it comes to how they communicate. Italians are known for speaking with their hands, and this habit has passed onto their Argentine descendants.

To move around Argentina like a true local, this blog will help you decipher the hand gestures that are most commonly used, which you can also pick up and use easily without causing any unfortunate misunderstandings!

Also Read: DO’S AND DON’TS in Argentina

1. ‘’¡Ojo!’’ – Be careful/ Watch out!

[Point to your eye and pull down your lower eyelid using your index finger.]

Be careful! Watch out or you’ll get into some kind of trouble! Your Spanish teacher will probably use this protective gesture plenty of times in class, when you mistakenly use ‘actualmente’ instead of ‘en realidad’.

2. ‘’No sé’’ / ‘’Ni idea’’ – I don’t know/ I have no idea

[Stick out your lower lip, tilt your head back slightly and flick the back of your fingers from underneath your chin.]

A great one to use when someone asks you where the number 108 bus stops and you don’t have a clue! It can also be used as a sign of boredom or apathy, as if to say ‘’Don’t know, don’t care, why are you still here?’’

3. ‘’¿¡Que!?’’ / ‘’¡Que te pasa!’’ – What is your problem!?/ Are you kidding me!?

[Bring your fingers and thumb together and point them upward. Move your hand up and down from the wrist.]

A multipurpose gesture to express complete disbelief. ‘’What the hell is wrong with you?!’’

4. ‘’Maso’’ / ‘’Mas o menos’’ – Kind of/ So so

[Extend your hand with your palm facing down, fingers spread apart, slowly rotating from side to side.]

This one is pretty self explanatory and one that is pretty commonly used throughout the world. I don’t know, it could go either way, I don’t really wanna speak about it…
‘’How did the Spanish exam go yesterday?’’
‘’Hmm, mas o menos…’’

5. ‘’Un Cortado’’ – I want a coffee!

[Make a C sign with your fingers while signalling the waiter across the room.]

An incredibly useful gesture in busy cafes where you don’t actually need to talk to the waiter, but you need your coffee fix muy pronto!

6. ‘’De acá’’ – I was right/ Up yours!

[Bend your elbow into your waist, making your hand into a fist. Use the other hand to grasp the crook of your elbow. Move your arm forcibly up from the elbow.]

WARNING: This one is RUDE! You may use sometimes it with your friends, after your beloved Boca beat the rivals River in the Superclasico. Sort of a ‘’Haha! My team won!” More often than not though, it will form part of a heated exchange where words just arent enough…

7. ‘’Hincha pelotas’’ / ‘’Que pesado’’ – Being a pain in the ass/ Annoying

[Hold out your arms as if you were carrying two heavy shopping bags. Repeatedly lift your arms and let them fall to show just how heavy the bags are.]

Another one where you should judge the situation before putting it into use. You are being a right pain in the balls! Not suitable to use when your boss asks you to work overtime on a Friday afternoon, as you are effectually miming the action of weighing… well… you get the picture.

8. ‘’Vení acá’’ – Come here!

[Extend your hand with your palm facing down. Repeatedly curl your fingers up towards your palm.]

This one will take some practice to start using, as it is different to the gesture which most of us already have hardwired into our brains. You really wanna emphasise that someone comes to you, and you don’t wanna ask twice.

9. ‘’Tacaño’’ – Cheapskate

[Pat your elbow with the palm of your hand.]

You organise an asado and ask people to pitch in with the meat. Then one of your friends turns up with nothing more than a handful of tomatoes. You are probably going to want to use this gesture to make it clear just how much of a cheapskate they are!

10. ‘’La posta’’ – Just perfect/ The absolute best

[With your hand forming the OK sign, make a short, quick downward motion in front of your chest.]

That really hit the spot. Perfect, you got it just right. To signify your approval of something, you think it’s the absolute best.

Although we do a great job of learning how to communicate verbally, using our newfound Spanish language skills, it is also important to remember that a huge part of communication is portrayed through our body language and demeanor.

So next time you are practicing your Spanish, be it in class or outside of school, pay attention to see if you can spot some of the gestures you have learnt here. You can then even start to incorporate them into your own conversations too!

For more information about Vamos Spanish Academy go to our website https://vamospanish.com or visit us at Viamonte 1516, CABA, Argentina

Do you know any other gesture? Share it below

Share this post!

Start your Spanish Immersion Experience Today. We offer both In-Person and Online Spanish Classes. Discover Our Malaga School or our Buenos Aires School. No matter your plans VAMOS Academy has a course for you!

Join the conversation on social:


Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires

Cementerio de la Recoleta Recoleta Cemetery (Cementerio de la Recoleta) is often listed as…

Recoleta Cemetery Ghost Stories and Myths

If you’re eager to delve into the world of the supernatural, the tales that…

Conquer Spanish Conjugations: A Comprehensive Guide to The Present Tense

Are you eager to master Spanish conjugations and unlock the full potential of the…

Spending and Celebrating Christmas in Buenos Aires, Argentina: Traditions and Food

Here’s the essentials to spending Christmas in Buenos Aires: traditions, food, culture and even…