Have you been wondering what does holding up 4 fingers mean in a picture or video? There are a few common meanings for this hand gesture, so let’s dive right in.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
What Does Holding Up 4 Fingers Mean?
If you’ve seen someone holding up 4 fingers in a picture or video, you’re probably wondering what it means.
There are several different meanings for holding up four fingers, but some common meanings are:
- A football game is heading into the fourth quarter (the most common meaning)
- Someone is in danger
- West Coast hand signal sometimes used by famous rappers
- A TikTok meme about someone’s sexuality
Here are 5 of the most common meanings of holding up 4 fingers:
1. Four Fingers In Football
This hand gesture is very common in American football. It typically signifies the beginning of the fourth quarter of the game.
Football players will hold up 4 fingers to say that the final 15 minutes, the most crucial part of the game, is about to begin.
According to Dictionary.tn, “When the clock expires at the end of the third quarter, teams hold up four fingers to signify the beginning of the most important 15 minutes of the game. The fourth quarter is when games are won, and legends are made. Fourth quarters are why players work so hard in the offseason with the weightlifting and the running.”
This hand signal is a reminder to the other players to keep pushing, no matter what happened in the first three quarters of the football game.
The crowd at football games often participate in this trend and hold up four fingers as well.
2. Someone Is In Danger
In 2021, a viral TikTok showed a four finger hand gesture that is meant to be used when someone is in danger and needs help.
This “secret signal” involves tucking your thumb into your palm, holding four fingers up with your palm facing forward, and then folding your fingers down to form a fist.
If you’re still confused about how to perform this hand gesture, this graphic does a great job of showing how it’s done.
This hand signal was first introduced by the Canadian Women’s Foundation in 2020 to help address the rise in domestic violence cases while households were going into lockdown.
If you see someone using this hand symbol, you should ask if they need help or call the police.
3. Gang Sign
Holding up four fingers can also be used as a gang sign.
According to an Urban Dictionary entry, the gesture “4’s up” is “a term used in Florida to represent your ‘hood’ or ‘block.’
[The] individual is either repping north Lauderdale, pompano beach, Oakland park, or broward county”.
4. Rapper Hand Signal
If you’ve seen your favorite artist holding up this hand signal, you may be wondering why do rappers hold up four fingers?
Rappers often hold up 4 fingers to make the West Coast hand signal. This is done by crossing your middle and ring finger and tucking your thumb into your palm.
This gesture is used by rappers from the west coast to show solidarity and respect.
Rappers sometimes refer to this as “putting the fours”.
This hand signal has been used by Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Da Baby, and Tupac Shakur.
The four finger West Coast hand symbol has not been claimed by any legitimate gangs, but it is sometimes misconstrued as a gang sign.
5. TikTok Meme
In 2021, an Urban Dictionary user defined holding up 4 fingers as a silent signal to tell others that you’re gay and afraid to come out of the closet.
There are no other sources of this symbol being used, so it is safe to assume that it was a joke or troll post.
This Urban Dictionary entry inspired a trend on TikTok where users find pictures of people holding up four fingers to to jokingly infer that they are homosexual.
Throughout March and April 2022, a massive influx of spam definitions of “4 fingers up” began flooding Urban Dictionary.
Many of these definitions say that the hand symbol refers to being gay or being in love with something specific. We’ve included some examples of this below.
Other Meanings For Holding Up 4 Fingers
Bringing Awareness To Mental Health
Around 2017, there was a huge movement to bring attention to mental health issues by holding up 4 fingers in pictures.
One in four people struggle with mental illness, so this hand gesture was meant to represent that.
Huge celebrities like Tom Brady, Russell Brand, and Kristin Bell participated in this trend. According to MTV.co.uk, this trend was actually a mental health campaign from BBC (the #1in4 campaign).
The campaign was all about breaking the stigma and starting a conversation around mental illnesses.
This campaign ended in 2017, but you still may see some celebrity selfies floating around the internet with four fingers up.
Support For Egypt
In September 2013, holding four fingers up was used to show support for Egypt and rejection of the Arab Spring.
However, this is not currently a common meaning for holding up four fingers.
Hopefully this post answered all of your questions about what it means to hold up 4 fingers.
There are several meanings behind this popular hand gesture, but it is most commonly used in Football games, by gangs, or by someone who is in danger and needs help.
If you’re seeing this in 2023, you’ve probably been seeing the “4 fingers up” meme going around on TikTok.
Urban Dictionary users have been making joke definitions of this hand gesture for several months, but most of these do not have legitimate origins.
This post was all about answering the question “what does holding up 4 fingers mean?”
You may also like: