Dubai Life

What These 5 Common UAE Hand Gestures Mean

Wondering what those random signs are?

Tamilla Dowse Tamilla Dowse

What These 5 Common UAE Hand Gestures Mean
If you’ve lived in Dubai for a while, then you’ve probably come across someone making one of these gestures at some point. If you’re new – you might not be clued in on what these mean and why people use them. Below are the five most commonly used across the UAE, after reading you can try putting them into practice!

“Win, Victory, Love”

The first gesture is probably the one that’s most well known because it was invented by Sheikh Mohammed and is coined as the “three-finger salute”. If you look closely at the hand, you’ll see that the three fingers represent the letters W (win), V (victory) and L (love). You can see this gesture commonly used by various people within the UAE, and there is even a statue depicting it in Burj Park!


The Tolerance Sign was created after Sheikh Mohammed had announced the UAE’s plan of redefining itself as one of the more accepting and tolerant countries in the Middle East. It sort of resembles a bird, because on the day of the announcement, doves were released into the sky as a symbol of the initiative.

“Wait / Listen to me”

This is a very common everyday sign used in the UAE in Arabic its known as “shway shway” which translated means “wait” / “slowly”. You’ll see people using it in several instances, such as when driving, attempting to get someone’s attention, etc.

“Come here”

This gesture is pretty much universal, right? It’s used as a way to get someone’s attention and call them over to you. The only explanation needed really.

“I don’t know”

This gesture naturally came about from conversations where there was a language barrier. It can sometimes also be used when bargaining and finding out the price of an item.