Talk to the hand (or tell it to the hand ) is an English language slang phrase associated with the 1990s. It originated as a contemptuous way of saying that no one is listening, and is often elongated to a phrase such as Talk to the hand, because the ear's not listening . Also, in regions south, Talk to the hand because the face don't understand!
The phrase is often considered to be sarcastic or obnoxious. The phrase was popularized by actor and comedian Martin Lawrence in his 1992 sitcom Martin. The phrase is formally reported from as early as 1995, when a local Indianapolis magazine story noted Talk to the hand — The phrase, which means, Shut up , is accompanied by a hand in front of the victim's face . It is usually accompanied by the gesture of extending one arm toward the other person, with the palm of that hand facing the person being insulted, in the manner of the gesture to stop. Use of the phrase was noted to be a passing trend, as one author noted in advising writers against the use of quickly dated slang: Slang is trendy. Last year every young person I knew was saying 'Talk to the hand'. Now no one even remembers Talk to the hand' .
It is argued that once the hand is extended that the person doing the insulting must continue to face the insulted one, however, because this counters the insult by continuing to face the person while they are talking, a secondary gesture was adopted in the early 1990's to correct this common error. The phrase talk to the hand must be followed by a 180 degree turn away from the person being insulted. If this secondary gesture is not done immediately after raising the hand the insult is not complete.
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