Talk to the Hand

Meanings of “Talk to the Hand”

The phrase “talk to the hand” means a rude interjection that intends to dismiss or interpret what another person is saying. When you outstretch your vertical palm, you are saying, “I have no interest or inclination in hearing anything you have got to say.”

Origin of “Talk to the Hand”

The phrase “talk to the hand” is said to have originated from an advertisement in the Wyoming newspaper, The Pinedale Roundup, published in October 1996, where it is stated as; “A contemporary favorite if you don’t like what somebody is saying (a traffic warden, say) is to turn a palm forward and yell: ‘Talk to the hand.’”
Later, it was traced in Syracuse Herald-Journal, published in 1996, where it is stated as; “I don’t know about you, but if I hear someone say ‘talk to the hand’ again I will strangle them with their own shoelaces.” Since then, the phrase has been used by various literary or non-literary figures to express their ideas.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Talk to The Hand by Aleksander Walmann

“Coming in from the right
Coming in from the left
I try to keep up
Whilst I’m losing my breath
All these different opinions
Everyone’s a dab hand
Always talking down to me
Like I’m the mad man.

Push it far away, far away
From my conscience
Mumbo jumbo everyday
I’m tired of the nonsense
Never going backwards
‘Cause the beat is always tapping
Work hard no bragging
I don’t need your nagging

Talk talk talk talk..
Talk to the hand
‘Cause the face ain’t listenin’
Repetitions old put it in the bin
Detached to your words like a mannequin
That’s why my face ain’t listenin’
Talk to the hand
‘Cause the face ain’t listenin.”
Repetitions old put it in the bin
Detached to your words like a mannequin
QThat’s why my face ain’t listenin.”

The singer shows how he endures the contrasting opinions of the people around him. In the first stanza, he talks about the way people poke their noses in his life, considering him a mad man. The second stanza speaks about the speaker’s response toward this Mumbo jumbo: he simply wants to get rid of these people who intend to cause confusion or bewilderment. However, in the third stanza, the phrase’s repetition makes his meanings clear; the speaker asks them to be quiet or stop talking because he is not going to consider their opinions anymore. Thus, the phrase shows a fair use of repetition, a rhetorical device, in which a word or phrase is repeated for impacts.

Example #2

Talk to the Hand by Cynthia Jones

Talk to the hand
Hear what I say,
Don’t care what you demand
I’m a new bird today,
As I’m off to get my pay,
I’ll laugh all the way to the bank,
Stop giving my tail feathers a yank.

This short poem presents the story of a bird that is learning to touch the sky. The bird never pays attention to the things people say. Rather, he asks them to listen to him because he never cares about their opinions. Being a fresh lad, he is ready to take his flight with a smile on his face. Therefore, he asks them to stop interfering in his carefree life. The use of this phrase in the title seems to present a metaphorical presentation of the phrase.

Example #3

Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door by Lynne Truss

This book presents us with a curious work, which is part of a battle cry, part social commentary, and part a lament. The book presents a bare clash between rudeness that we see and feel in society along with the notion of good manners. Truss hits the upbeat evaluation of how rude behavior has become a norm of the day, and how its acceptance has become a humorous call to arms that questions bad practices and ill manners that support these kinds of attitudes in society. Thus, the phrase has been used as an extended metaphor to show how our behaviors shape our societies and bring drastic changes in our life.

Example #4

Talk To the Hand by Darrien Lee

In this fantastic fiction, the author presents the story of a twenty-three years old versatile lady, Nedra Harris, who has experienced pain in her quest to find her soulmate. Surprisingly, her efforts bear fruit when she meets her old college fellow, Simeon Mathews. She remembers his attractive looks and warm smile, though, she soon realizes that the same charming personality possesses a dark side that will eventually make her life miserable. Thus, she gives up and moves on with another person, Donovon McNeil. Therefore, the phrase has been used as a metaphor for ignoring someone.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “My idea of seeking three days leave from my manager didn’t look like it was going to be very successful. His sore mood warranted a talk to the hand reaction.”

Example #2: “Lucy was not an easy person to approach. No matter what you had to say, her response was to talk to the hand!”

Example #3: “When most of the participants came up with plausible explanations of their projects, they often defended their points with justifiable opinions. However, instead of considering the valid points, the jury’s reaction was equivalent to talk to the hand.”

Example #4: “I disliked the rude behavior of your aunt when she said, Girl, you can talk to the hand because I am not listening.”

Example #5: “Our opinions were not valued in the meeting, I felt like we were talking to the hand.”