Talk to the Hand - Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you listening to someone mumble on about how great they are, and you feel you have better things to do with your life? Maybe someone you know is asking you to loan them money on the street? If you want to deny their request or shut down the conversation, you could tell them to "talk to the hand."

"Talk to the hand" is a popular colloquial phrase. This post gives you everything you need to know about its origin and meaning, and we'll look at use examples for the phrase in conversation.

Talk to the Hand Meaning

"Talk to the hand" is a popular street culture term that comes out of 90s African-American comedy. The phrase is popular, and many people still use it today, although it's slowly falling out of favor with the younger generations.

Telling someone to "talk to the hand" means that you don't want to hear anything they have to say to you. You can use the phrase before the person starts talking to you or use it during the conversation to cut them off. Typically, people that use "talk to the hand" will put their hand in front of the other person's face that's talking to them.

In most cases, the placement of the hand is a few inches from the other person's face, and there's no contact. The person will usually withdraw their hand quickly. The person that is saying the phrase will usually make a swift exit from the scenario.

"Talk to the hand" can have an ominous or a friendly tone, depending on the situation. Many people use the phrase to poke fun at someone or stop them from asking for money.

Talk to the Hand Example Usage

"What do you mean you can't help me out, you know what? Talk to the hand."

"I've heard enough, Doreen, talk to the hand."

"Joey was trying to convince me he didn't go on a date with my sister. I told him to talk to the hand."

"Duncan, I understand what you're trying to say, but talk to the hand."

"No, I don't have any money to lend you; talk to the hand."

Talk to the Hand Origin

If you're a comedy fan, then you'll probably know the legendary African-American comedian superstar Martin Lawrence. Lawrence had an amazing, groundbreaking career, and the established comics of his generation, like Dave Chappell, agree that he's one of the greats.

During the peak of his career in the 90s, Lawrence had a comedy sitcom named "Martin." The show was a resounding success and a breakthrough in African-American television at the time. In one of the episodes, Martin's character’s partner mentions the phrase "talk to the hand."

The expression caught traction in the African-American community and hip-hop culture, spilling over into general use across all racial ethnicities in the United States and worldwide.

Phrases Similar to Talk to the Hand

  • We're done here.
  • I've heard enough.
  • Okay, you win.

Phrases Opposite to Talk to the Hand

  • Let me hear what you have to say.
  • I understand what you're saying.
  • I'm down with that.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Talk to the hand.

Ways People May Say Talk to the Hand Incorrectly

People may use "talk to the hand" incorrectly or in the wrong context. For instance, telling your boss to talk to the hand would likely end in them firing you.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Talk to the Hand

You can use the phrase "talk to the hand" in social scenarios where you want the other person to stop talking. The term is suitable for use in aggressive posturing and as a joke for some lighthearted commentary.

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