Argentine Hand Gestures

Argentina Travel Posted on 12/09/2015

In Argentina, people seem to communicate more with hand gestures than with words. Thank the Italian ancestry for that. There’s a signal for everything, some obvious and some more obscure. Some Argentines simply forget that the same gestures don’t exist in other countries and use hand motions to finish a sentence, which confuses foreigners. So whether you speak Spanish or not, you’ll have these hand motions to back you up!

Updated to April 2024

Street artist playing guitar for a family

“Ojo” – Be careful
Simply pull down the skin under your eye to warn somebody to be aware of their surroundings.

“Que te pasa?!” – What’s your problem? Are you kidding me?
This can be used with aggresion (heavy traffic) or if your friend says something ridiculous. Bring all your fingertips on one hand together, Italian style, and shake your hand back and forth.

“Tacaño” – A person who’s cheap or stingy
Bend your arm and rub your elbow with the palm of your hand.

“Ni idea” – No clue, I don’t know
This one is super Argentine. Put your hand under your chin and flick it out, so your palm is facing upwards, brushing your fingers across the underside of your chin. Do it with a little shrug and raise of the eyebrows and you’re golden.

“Un cortado” – Espresso with a bit of foam
Another restaurant gesture to communicate without the server having to actually come to your table. Again, catch their eye and hold your thumb and forefinger two or three inches apart, as if saying something was thiiiiis little and mouth “cortado.” Your coffee will be out shortly after.

“Colectivo” – Signaling the bus to stop for you
Keep your arm high up for the bus to stop. To catch a cab, keep your arm lower, as shown below.

Don’t let the language barrier hold you back anymore! Use these hand gestures to get you by throughout the whole country; happy miming!

For more Argentine-isms, check out this portion of the blog. To see Argentina for yourself, get in touch with us at Say Hueque today!

Written by Abby LeCleir

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