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Secret Hand Language for Doctor Who Fans

Do you ever see people making hand gestures on the street and find yourself wondering what the heck they mean? This happens to me all the time. I'm so out of the loop!

Thankfully, two can play at the obscure hand language game!! We can make our own secret hand language and chortle sardonically when others wonder in vain about their hidden meanings.

Because I am a Doctor Who fan, I thought it might be fun to create an informal set of gestures inspired by the show. There's a good mix in this set: one of the gestures is very generic, another is specific, another is insulting, and two indicate coolness.

If you want to add some variety to your present evoked set of hand gestures (and like Doctor Who), I recommend taking one (or more) of these for a spin!

The Sonic Screwdriver: A hand gesture for any moment!

The Sonic Screwdriver: A hand gesture for any moment!

The Sonic Screwdriver

The single and most distinct gesture that all Doctors make involves that telltale brandishing of a sonic screwdriver. It is therefore imperative that any collection of Doctor Who hand gestures utilize this classic move.

Because the sonic screwdriver is used all the time and in all sorts of situations, a gesture imitating its use would be best associated with a very broad meaning. I'm classifying it as a generic, catch-all gesture that could be used as an equivalent to:

  • Twiddling thumbs
  • Holding one's hand to one's brow (to gaze out into the distance)
  • Awkward turtle
  • The "here's looking at you, kid" nod or point

To replicate this gesture, point with your index and middle finger in a sweeping gesture while looking focused. If you want to be super cool, do this with an actual (or sonic) screwdriver in your hand in place of the two pointing fingers (a pen, stick, or phone would also work).

The Weeping Angel: Don't Blink!

The Weeping Angel: Don't Blink!

The Weeping Angel

Another classic posture found within the Doctor Who universe is that of the Weeping Angel. Certainly few Doctor Who fans can help but widen their eyes upon being presented with someone (especially someone made of stone) assuming this particular position.

Of course the first words that come into one's head when seeing this gesture, which I refer to as the Weeping Angel, are "DON'T BLINK!" so that's what it means! One might consider it to be an approximation of the "keep your eyes peeled" gesture.

Outside-the-loopers might misinterpret this gesture for its mundane equivalent "I'm not looking," but as Doctor Who fans, we understand each other. We'll totally know what you mean when you use this one.

The Dalek: Exterminate!

The Dalek: Exterminate!

The Dalek can take the place of the...

  • Finger
  • Five feathers
  • Cutis
  • The chin flick
  • Idiota
  • Tacaño
  • Pepper mill
  • Corna
  • Fishy smell
  • Write-off
  • Moutza

... and any other rude gesture you can think of!

The Dalek

Any set of hand gestures would be incomplete without at least one rude gesture, and I'll call our rude Doctor Who gesture the Dalek.

To replicate this gesture, hold your elbows close to your torso and stick out your forearms and two pointing fingers with each hand to approximate a Dalek's telescopic manipulator arm and energy weapon.

You may wonder if a rude gesture has value if nobody understands what the gesture means. I have three responses for you:

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  1. You spend most of your time interfacing with those who are close to you (which is to say, your friends and family), so chances are they'll also be in the Doctor Who loop and will know exactly what you mean.
  2. A gesture alone does not communicate hatred and disrespect; what matters is the manner in which this gesture is delivered. So long as you give people the Dalek with a proper serving of xenophobic abhorrence, you can rest assured that the message will come across.
  3. Maybe it's better that people not know that you're insulting them. By using the Dalek, you get the benefit of expressing your feelings while also maintaining physical safety.
The Fez: Cool

The Fez: Cool

The Fez

The Eleventh Doctor is my personal favorite, and also particularly good at tossing out catchphrases and little gestures that people are more than happy to spread. One of those catchphrases is, of course, "Fezzes are cool!"

Now, it may be the case that The Doctor is the only person who sees fezzes as cool accessories (River Song? Not a fan.), so the gesture I refer to as The Fez could be given to indicate obscure coolness.

You may, for example, use this gesture when someone is going on about how fantastic My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is. It might be a cool show, but at least amongst adult audiences, it's a bit on the obscure side.

The Bow Tie: SUPER cool

The Bow Tie: SUPER cool

The Bow Tie

Another catchphrase of the Eleventh Doctor is "bow ties are cool" and on this front, the opinion is (so far as I'm concerned) nearly unanimous. Bow ties ARE cool, especially after they are endorsed by The Doctor (and Science Cat).

I therefore recommend flashing the Bow Tie to indicate acknowledgement of something extremely and undeniably cool. This Doctor Who gesture may also be used in poses- I think it's an especially pose-worthy bit of hand-signage. Don't you?

Weigh in!


While these hand gestures would be best presented within a group of friends that shares a love of Doctor Who, I think they can be enjoyed pretty much anywhere. Use them in good health!

At any rate, do you have a favorite? Better yet, do you have an idea for an additional Doctor-Who hand gesture? Perhaps something Ood-related to indicate benign creepiness, or maybe the four-beat-rhythmic-drumming of fingers to indicate impending conflict? Share your ideas in the comments below!


Cathy on August 26, 2013:

Your answer was just what I neddee. It's made my day!

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on March 21, 2013:

Up and funny. Wonderfully silly.

L C David from Florida on February 12, 2013:

Love this! I'm going to do the "Weeping Angel" to my kids and see if they know what I'm doing. They are still freaked out from those episodes. We love Doctor Who!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 05, 2013:

Interesting and so funny!

Aikonia from New York on September 29, 2012:

Voted for the Dalek BUT loved the Bow Tie gesture just as much!!

Virginia Kearney from United States on August 05, 2012:

These are so cool--I'm sending it to my kids who are huge fans.

Tamara Wilhite from Fort Worth, Texas on June 20, 2012:

This is hilarious!

L M Reid from Ireland on April 28, 2012:

Very good video especially as I am a Doctor Who fan too. But my all time favourite Doctor has to be David Tennant as the 10th Doctor.

Mind you Matt Smith is great too and I prefer his clothes and the bow tie lol.

My favourite companions have to be Emily and Rory though. With Catherine Tate as Donna close behind. Oh yes and I voted for the weeping Angles hand sign, they are sooo scary and good!

Rob from Oviedo, FL on April 27, 2012:

Hi Simone; I love Dr. Who. I've been a fan since the 1970s. Fun hub.


Mohan Kumar from UK on April 25, 2012:

As a fan of the recent Dr Whos ( Eccleston, Tennant, Smith)and with an absolute, unconditional love for the 'Weeping Angels' I vote for that sign, Simone. Loved this hub and great photos. You have a very expressive face - Hollywood take note!

janikon on April 25, 2012:

I aspire to one day create hand gestures for my own subculture. I'll need to find one, of course and then learn to be as funny as you are. Funny!

Lisa McKnight from London on April 25, 2012:

Video was great you are really funny!

Matthew Kandik from Ohio on April 25, 2012:

Best hub ever!

blogvkp on April 24, 2012:

That's really nice and hilarious.. I loved the video

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on April 24, 2012:

What a riot - this is a fun hub; thanks for the laughs! Most of the hand gestures I remember aren't this family friendly!

FYI - the video didn't load here - I'll check back, and I'll take a look at my computer settings in case it's pilot error on my part!

Candace Bacon from Far, far away on April 24, 2012:

I love these gestures! The Weeping Angel is definitely my favorite. I've had to keep a close eye on the statues in my neighborhood ever since I watched "Blink." The only gesture missing is one specifically for David Tennant, since he is such a fan favorite. I don't know what it would be exactly, though. What would be a sign for a trench coat? Great job and do a gestures part 2!

Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on April 24, 2012:

Thanks so much Adventure Colorad!

The Bow Tie is my favorite, too, CloudExplorer :D

YAY! Doctor Who HIGH FIVE, ladeda!!!

Hahaa Turtlewoman! I'm glad the Dalek has appeal even to those who are unfamiliar with the Doctor Who universe. It really is a fun one!

My fez goes off to you, fellow Whovian Zakmoonbeam. Thanks for stopping by :D

Hehee, danke RealHousewife! I think these are well worth playing with.

Oh, you noticed that Outbound Dan! I love my wee little TARDIS. And YAY for Doctor Who being on Netflix. I am so pleased about that!

Hahaa, gotta love the bows, anglnwu!

You should TOTALLY have insider hand gestures for your family, kelleyward! That'd be the coolest!

Your 12-year-old is AWESOME, Melovy. What good taste! Hehee.

And I know!!! I'm so excited/scared for that, How to - Answers! Weeping Angels are seriously disturbing. And hahaa, it's the thought that counts, right?

L M Reid from Ireland on April 24, 2012:

Great video for a MAD Doctor Who fan like me!

Love the Weeping Angels gesture. They will be back in the next series of Doctor Who as well.

Would share and vote up but no Share buttons on the Technology hubs. Will have to get The Doctor to use his Sonic Screwdriver to get HubPages Staff to bring them back!

Yvonne Spence from UK on April 24, 2012:

Just watched your video with my Dr Who mad 12-year-old and her verdict is: FUNNY!

(bow ties are cool!! 12 year old)

kelleyward on April 24, 2012:

I really like the bow tie! What a fun idea maybe I can come up with a couple hand gestures my husband and share, no kids allowed ha ha !! Take care, Kelley

anglnwu on April 24, 2012:

Cool video and the bow tie gesture is very much you too--bow tie on hair and in profile picture. Nicely done.

Dan Human from Niagara Falls, NY on April 24, 2012:

One of my favorite things about this video is the tiny police call box on the stand next to you.

Now that the Doctor is on Netflix, I've been catching up on my episodes.

Well done!

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on April 24, 2012:

That's funny...I like the bow tie myself ... Personally I am gonna take advantage of this lesson and use these often:) haha and with a big smile on my face...wth...everyone already knows I'm crazy, I can get away with it! Haha

Up excellent and fun...what were the other choices?

Michael Murchie from Parts Unknown on April 24, 2012:

Absolute gold!! As a fellow Whovian, I love the idea of this. Great video, also voted for "bow tie."

Kim Lam from California on April 24, 2012:

Hey Simone, thanks for sharing these cool hand gestures that I have never heard of. I don't know much about Doctor Who and I'm totally out of the loop. The Dalek gesture is awesome. I'm going to have to try that next time a driver cuts me off on the road. Although I'm not sure how safe that would be since both of my hands will be off the wheel. It's even better than the elbow pump from the Friends episode! Anyway, fun hub...voted up, up and away.

ladeda on April 24, 2012:

As a fellow Doctor Who fan, I find this absolutely completely fantastically, awesome!

Mike Pugh from New York City on April 24, 2012:

I personally like the bow tie the most Simone, you video was also pretty awesome.

I've learned a great deal from reading your hubs since I joined hubpages, you always are filled with a great deal of energy and creativity, and I look up to you as a awesome leader of our community here, thanks for being so fun, and for writing with amazing style and grace.

Voted up! and I'm definitely sharing this one elsewhere beginning with them cool facebook groups I recently joined.

Adventure Colorad from Denver,CO on April 24, 2012:

Very cleaver hand signals, thanks for sharing!

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