An "okay" hand signal is formed by making a circle with index finger and thumb while splaying the other fingers out, roughly upwards. What are its origins?

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  • 1
    Here in Britain I've only ever seen it used to mean "OK" or, with more stress, and probably more often, "perfect" or "great job" or "just as it should be", expressing praise or satisfaction.
    – user1618
    Mar 13, 2018 at 16:00
  • It is a simple fingerspelling of the word's two letters, O and K.
    – Lucian
    Sep 28, 2019 at 0:39
  • @Lucian This is older than the word ok, so saying it is "simple fingerspelling" seems a little too simple...
    – Tom Sol
    Sep 30, 2019 at 17:30
  • @Tom: Is the meaning of the older-than-the-word-OK hand gesture the same as (or, at the very least, similar to) that of the word OK ?
    – Lucian
    Oct 1, 2019 at 16:47
  • @Lucian Actually yes. As an expression of assent and approval. The gesture cam be traced back to first century Rome where the rhetorician Quintilian is recorded as having used it.
    – Tom Sol
    Oct 1, 2019 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


This hand sign definitely has traditional usage as mudras in the practice of Yoga, known popularly as either the chin mudra ("the seal of consciousness") or the jnana mudra ("the seal of wisdom"), depending on the orientation of the hand.

This fact, however, does not imply Hindu origins of the hand sign for the meaning "A-OK"... Don't have info at present to say one way or the other.

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