Thumbs Up

Meanings of “Thumbs Up”

The phrase “thumbs up” is a sign of approval, saying ‘okay’ or as an encouragement. This acceptance gesture is made with all fingers closed, while the thumb stays upward.

Origin of “Thumbs Up”

The phrase “thumbs up” is said to have first used in the gladiatorial contests of ancient Rome, where fate of the participants was decided through this gesture from the audience. However, the earlier citation of the phrase in English is traced back to Pliny’s Natural Historie, translated into English in 1601 by Philemon Holland. In this book, the phrase goes thus; “To bend or bow downe the thumbes when wee give assent unto a thing, or doe favor any person.”

Examples from Literature

Example #1

Two Thumbs Up by Kennyatta Duveil

While having our oatmeal in the kitchen, three,
We wrote this poem, Rashida, Davida and me.
We didn’t know that we would jell this way, but two thumbs up,
We wrote this poem today!

Two thumbs up, we did it, flowers, hearts and butterflies;
Now we spread our wings…
Because we have the green light and can expect new things.
The angles in heaven all agree and our souls are set free.

Two thumbs up in what we have and the Deity do agree!
Do you hear them calling?
David, Rashida, and Jacquelyn Davida heard the voice of thee.

While sitting eating breakfast, the angles set us free
The hearts, butterflies and flowers all do agree and gave
Two thumbs up to the souls of these here three!
God! Good morning.

This poem narrates the joy of the speaker who has joined hands with her friends to write a poetic piece. Completing the task rejuvenates her and provides her the utmost satisfaction that it seems to her as if nature is dancing with them on the tune. This initial effort has given them confidence and made them expect new possibilities. This excitement led them to hear even the unheard voices of the angles that also congratulate them on their success. The phrase has been used as a rhetorical device of repetition.

Example #2

Thumbs Up by John Carter Brown

She sticks her little thumb up
and I too stick up mine,
it is our little greeting,
with us a private sign
that now the morning greets us
the time has come to rise,
so onward to the kitchen,
and there there’s no surprise;

the kettle’s on, the cups are out
we’re ready for a drink,
shaking off our sleepiness
with every single blink,
another day awaits us
just what’s in store, who knows?
still, she sticks her little thumb up,
and waggles all her toes.

This poem illustrates the satisfaction and contentment of the speaker who is tasting the perfectness of life with his beloved. They get up and greet each other with thumb-up gestures, which is their private sign. Happily, they shake off their sleepiness and welcome the new morning. They believe that each day arrives with new exciting experiences. Although they are uncertain about the future, yet the lady welcomes the day in high spirits. The phrase is an extended metaphor for their satisfying life.

Example #3

Thumbs Up: Five Steps to Create the Life of Your Dreams by Joey Reiman

The book reflects the speaker’s horrible life experiences. He discusses the time when he has met a tragic accident that left him almost paralyzed in 1975. The brave speaker then refuses to accept this prognosis; he rather wants to move his thumbs up, thinking that if he is able to move his thumb, the rest will follow suit. Surprisingly, his optimistic stance and staunch belief made him win the battle. Once recovered, he gives himself thumbs up. Therefore, in this book, he explains five steps that eventually lead a person to activate his dreams. He beautifully sums up the idea that success rests on the fingertips. Therefore, give the world a thumbs-up sign, set your goals in life, overcome your fears, and consider every significant event that leads you to success. The phrase is used as an extended metaphor in this book.

Example #4

Kindness Gets A Thumbs Up! by Brenda Li

This powerful children’s book intends to teach children the importance of compassion, kindness, and inclusion. This fun story teaches demonstrates that formal greetings and magic words help the children shape their life. The book also promotes the growth of a loving heart filled with mindfulness and empathy and helps develop necessary social skills. The most prominent point is the presentation of thumbs up/thumbs down concepts for the explanation of actions and emotions to motivate the readers. Moreover, there are various free activity worksheets along with download links for the children. The phrase used as a symbolism of kindness.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “The recent review report shows that few users want to see the company running as they gave thumbs up to the services we provide, while there are a few who are in favor of closing it.”

Example #2: “When he came to know that the teacher gave his paintings two thumbs up, he immediately rushed to the office and found everyone silent… as if I had done something wrong.”

Example #3: “Although Ronny knew nothing about the upcoming project, yet he gave thumbs up to the team. However, his gesture proved right as the project got final approval.”

Example #4: “When the law announces that they are going hang the terrorist after the trial, some people gave thumbs up but with a toothy grin.”

Example #5: “Ginny’s thumbs-up seems to be a real show of excitement.”