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twistedm in hp_britglish

thumbs up

An American way to give a positive response without speaking would be to hold up a thumb, with the other fingers all folded over. It's called "giving a thumbs up." Here it is a simple way to say 'yes.' It doesn't have a lot of cultural overlay.

Do Brits do this?



I do it.

Sometimes sarcastically - so if someone's telling me something they're not happy about and there's no other suitable answer, you'll get a thumbs up and a 'nice' and a slow head nod for me.

But then I also do it and mean it enthusiastically.

So, yes.
Well, I certainly would - for situations like thanking the driver of a car which has pulled up to let me cross.

It can be ambiguous, because doing it with your hand out to the side can mean you're flagging down a taxi. If you're facing the person to whom you are giving a thumbs-up you would usually fold your arm across your body and give the sign with your palm turned towards your chest and your fingers lightly curled.
Yes, we do.
I do, particularly if I'm on the phone at the time, however I have noticed I'm in a minority.
The thumbs-up is a totally British gesture, but I find it very slightly odd to describe it as "a simple way to say 'yes.'" It can convey approval (Great!'), congratulation ('Well done, mate!'), enthusiasm ('Hooray!'), encouragement ('Go for it!'), and reassurance ('It's working OK!') but not normally, in my experience, a simple 'yes'.
I agree with this - it's a bit stronger than just a simple 'yes'. You're talking quite an enthusiastic yes, or one of the situations above (most commonly a 'well done' kind of vibe, I think).
Id probably say gave him THE thumb's up, but yes, in moderation. As a general rule, Brits arent quite so expressive or giving of praise as Americans, so a nod of approval or smile might be more appropriate in context.