With extended fingers and a flat palm, clapping someone else's hand with an overhand motion.

Usually accompanied by a "Yay", "Good One" and/or the 1980's.

On my travels through Europe I discovered that the high five evokes fear and consternation amongst Europeans.

My friends and I would frequently high five each other (it's just something we do), and we'd always get very strange looks afterward. Like the fisheye. Or the hairy eyeball.

The person we were staying with in Barcelona had actually never seen a high five until two of us happened to execute one in her presence.

Italy, Spain, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, The Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria...always surprise and wonderment when we merkin boyz would slap five.

With all the American memes spreading like secret sauce all over the world, I'm shocked and amazed that the high five is still such a curiosity across the pond.


TenMinJoe says re High five: You might find a lot of Europeans are familiar with the gesture but find it distasteful.... the surprise and wonderment is not so much "What was that?" but "The Americans really do that in public? I thought that was just in movies!"

The first person to execute the high five is supposedly actor Dick Shawn, in Mel Brooks' 1968 comedy "The Producers". While playing Adolf Hitler in the play-within-a-movie "Springtime For Hitler", Shawn asks Goebbels to "give me five", but holds his hand up in a Nazi salute instead of extending it straight out.

The move did not catch on and become popular until years later.

High five.

See Cinch (the game).

 

© Webster 1913.

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