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What Does Holding Up 4 Fingers Mean? (5 Common Meanings)

Holding up 4 fingers is something that is fun to do with your family and friends. This guide will help you understand the meaning of this symbol and learn the different ways it is used.

What Does Holding Up 4 Fingers Mean? (5 Common Meanings)

There are many different reasons for using these hand symbols, all over the world. This guide will go into detail about some of them. 

1. The Person Using The Hand Signal Is In Danger

A more recent meaning of holding up 4 fingers which started circling on the popular social media platform “TikTok” is that it shows you are in danger and need help. 

To perform this hand signal you would tuck your thumb into your palm and put your four fingers up with your palm facing outwards 

This gesture went viral on the platform and it was quickly known as the “secret signal” to acquire help if you need it. 

This hand signal was introduced in 2020 by the Canadian Women’s Society. They did this because in 2020 due to the Coronavirus we were all going into lockdown and this was an attempt to raise awareness for domestic violence as cases were rising. 

Outside of TikTok this hand signal is known as “ the signal for help” which is now recognised internationally.

Initially the signal was used on video call during the lockdown to signal they are in danger at home. Now this hand gesture would be recognised in many different circumstances due to going viral on social media. 

If you see someone using this symbol this could be an indication that they need help. The best thing to do if you find yourself in this situation is to check in with the person making the signal to see if they are ok. 

If you believe someone is in immediate danger it is important to contact your local emergency services or call 911 as soon as possible. 

2. Four Fingers In Football

The our finger hand signal is possibly most commonly known for being used in football games to signify entering the fourth quarter. The hand gesture actually stands for “finish”. 

It is a tradition known and used globally that began in Miami, it is one of those things that are respected above all else in the game. 

Football players use this hand signal to show that they are about to enter the most important part of their game, the final 15 minutes. 

The final 15 minutes is the most crucial section of the match because this is when games are won and legends are created. Players train relentlessly in the gym for this fourth quarter. 

This hand signal is known well for motivating team mates to keep pushing and give it all they have got regardless of what has happened in the first three quarters of the football game. 

As this is a well known hand gesture , most football fans are aware of the meaning and usually join in with the hand signal in the crowds to cheer on and motivate their team in this final crucial quarter. 

What Does Holding Up 4 Fingers Mean? (5 Common Meanings)

3. Gang Sign Hand Signal

Another meaning for the 4 finger hand signal is when it is used as a gang sign. In this context, the hand signal is known as “ 4 up.” 

In contrast to when used in football games, when used as a gang sign this is a lot less commonly known. The signal and term “4 up” is used most commonly in Florida to show which “ block” or “ hood” you are from. 

The person using this signal is usually representing North Lauderdale, Pompano beach, Oakland park or  Broward County. 

Infamous rappers like Snoop Dog, Dr Dre and Tupac have been known to use this 4 fingers hand signal which hugely popularized this and in fact turned it into a trend on social media with a universally used emoji. 

Rappers use this hand signal to represent the West side. 

4. Raising Awareness For Mental Health Issues

In 2017 mental health awareness really took off and a huge movement was introduced which was huge over all social media platforms. 

This movement brought attention to mental health issues by encouraging people to post a photo holding up 4 fingers. 

The aim of this was to show solidarity and support for those suffering from mental health issues. 

Ater this went viral as soon as anyone saw this gesture on social media they would know exactly what it stood for. 

The reason behind holding up four fingers was to represent that one in four people suffer  with some kind of mental health issue. 

Celebrities recognised all over the globe took part in this movement, for example; Russell Brand, Tom Brady and Kristen Bell. 

The fact that these huge well known people took part in this campaign meant the meaning was recognised world wide. 

One of the main aims of this movement was to break the stigma around mental health and seeing not only family and friends opening up and talking about their own mental health struggles but celeries too, really helped achieve this. 

Although this campaign ended 5 years ago it is still likely you will see some of these selfies floating around and there’s no doubt this moment made an immense impact on many people.

5. TikTok “Coming Out“ Signal

Again, we are back to TikTok. TikTok is a huge social media platform enjoyed by millions, and all ages. Its popularity has grown massively in recent years. If you want to start a trend or go viral TikTok is the app to do it. 

In 2021 an entry was made on the popular website “ urban dictionary ” which stated that the four finger up hand signal was a silent signal used by those wanting to come out but are afraid  to address it publicly or say it directly to family or friends. 

However, other than the urban dictionary there were no other sources that confirmed this was true so it’s safe to assume this entry was most likely false. 

This entry did however inspire a huge trend on TikTok which went viral of people stating and then people consequently believing that this symbol did in fact mean this. 

After this there was in influx of entries to the urban dictionary stating that the symbol refers to being homosexual or being in love with something else. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this guide explained some of the many meanings of the 4 finger hand signal. 

Although there are many different meanings for the hand signal, even more than the 5 mentioned in this article, the most common reason for this hand signal is when it is used during football games to show support and give motivation for that final push in the last quarter of the game. 

The other most common reasons for this gesture includes gang signs in Florida, a way to show you are in danger or need help but are not in the position to actively ask for it or being used for trends on TikTok. 

Users of the urban dictionary have been entering all sorts of joke definitions in recent months, some quite ridiculous! Most of these do not have legitimate origins. 

Simon Lewis