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Secret Hand Language for Doctor Who Fans

Updated on April 24, 2012

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:

  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!

Which gesture is your favorite?

See results


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!


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

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

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      7 years ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      Up and funny. Wonderfully silly.

    • LCDWriter profile image

      L C David 

      7 years ago from Florida

      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!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting and so funny!

    • Aikonia profile image


      8 years ago from New York

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

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      8 years ago from United States

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

    • tamarawilhite profile image

      Tamara Wilhite 

      8 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      This is hilarious!

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      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!

    • Robwrite profile image


      8 years ago from Oviedo, FL

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


    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      8 years ago from UK

      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 profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      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!

    • ElizaDoole profile image

      Lisa McKnight 

      8 years ago from London

      Video was great you are really funny!

    • Matthew Ryczko profile image

      Matthew Kandik 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      Best hub ever!

    • blogvkp profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      8 years ago from Planet Earth

      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!

    • cocopreme profile image

      Candace Bacon 

      8 years ago from Far, far away

      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 Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      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?

    • How to - Answers profile image

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      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!

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      8 years ago from UK

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

      (bow ties are cool!! 12 year old)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      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 profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • Outbound Dan profile image

      Dan Human 

      8 years ago from Niagara Falls, NY

      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!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      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?

    • Zakmoonbeam profile image

      Michael Murchie 

      8 years ago from Parts Unknown

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

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 

      8 years ago from California

      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 profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 

      8 years ago from New York City

      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 profile image

      Adventure Colorad 

      8 years ago from Denver,CO

      Very cleaver hand signals, thanks for sharing!


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