This article answers the question “What does fingers crossed mean?”
You might think you know the answer, but as well will see, there is more than one correct answer.
The meaning depends on your location and/or language.
The English Version
In most English-speaking countries, people cross their fingers for one of two reasons.
For example, your exam results have arrived and you cross your fingers for luck before opening it (as if that’s going to change the contents ^^).
Or when you tell someone that your driving test, job interview, etc. is tomorrow, they will often cross their fingers for you, so that things go well for you.
When telling a white lie.
If you don’t want to go to a party, but lack the courage to turn down the invitation, you agree to come, but cross your fingers behind your back.
When asked about why you didn’t come, you cross your fingers again and explain that the car broke down, or the dog ate the directions or whatever lame excuse you come up with.
The two might even be related. If you’re telling a porky, you might be hoping to be lucky and that the person accepts your lie.
The American Version
In addition to the versions above, there is another meaning that I associate with the US.
It is also used to describe a closeness with another person, in a non-sexual way.
For example, if you’re asked why you were chosen to be the best man at a wedding instead of a more obvious choice, you could cross your fingers and explain that you and the groom are like that, meaning very close.
The German Version
The German version of crossing fingers only has one meaning, namely when telling lies.
When Germans want to wish each other good luck, the press their thumbs, as shown in the picture below.
The Vietnamese Version
This is perhaps the most interesting version, if only because it has the most potential to get you into trouble.
Crossing your fingers at someone, especially a female, in Vietnam is a highly offensive gesture, as it refers to female anatomy ‘down there’.
Basically, if you do that, you are calling the person a c***, which is not the best way to make friends.
Such a simple gesture, with such widely different meanings.
Do you know of another meaning in your language and/or culture?
If so, please let us know in the comments below – curious minds want to know.