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date: 20 April 2024

cocking a snook. 

A Dictionary of English Folklore
Jacqueline SimpsonJacqueline Simpson, Steve RoudSteve Roud

The most common name for the gesture formed by holding the thumb to the tip of the nose and spreading the fingers. Sometimes varied by waggling the fingers, or by adding the second hand (a ‘double snook’). Also called ‘taking a sight’, ‘cocking a snoot’, or the ‘Shanghai gesture’, its meaning ranges from mocking to rude, although in the present day its use is considered childish. Unlike most gestures, cocking a snook is found, with a similar meaning, across the whole of Europe. The gesture is described in the writings of François Rabelais in ... ...

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