Sign of the horns

Sign of the horns

Before we jump into this one, it’s important to note that the sign of the horns gesture has a lot of possible origins. The hand gesture is made when you hold up your pinky and index finger and hold down your middle and ring fingers with your thumb. This isn’t to be confused with the “I love you” symbol in ASL, which requires the thumb to also be out.

The first potential origin is related to music. If you’ve ever been to a rock or metal concert, you’re probably familiar with this popular hand sign. Many people attribute the gesture’s popularisation to Ronnie James Dio in the late 1970s…but he claims he wasn’t the one who invented it. Dio says his Italian grandmother inspired him to pick up on the “corna” gesture to ward off the “evil eye” and bad luck. It’s possible his grandmother might have been inspired by Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, which mentions characters using the gesture to protect themselves from the evil eye. In other words, we know the sign has been around since at least the end of the 19th century, but its exact origin remains a mystery.

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