Have you ever seen a TikTok creator raise their 4 fingers in their videos? Or maybe your favorite rapper is showing the same gesture? But what does 4 fingers up mean?
There are several possible meanings for this gesture, depending on the context. We will discuss all those meanings in this article, so keep reading to learn more.
The Meaning of 4 Fingers Up
People hold 4 fingers up for many different reasons.
For example, rappers may raise 4 fingers up to show their loyalty to the West Coast. Some people in TikTok may hold 4 fingers up to express she is in love with a person. Sometimes, people also use this gesture to show they are in danger.
Let’s see the details.
1. Represent West Coast
You may commonly see rappers hold up 4 fingers in a music video or a photograph. This is a way to express their respect for their West Coast origins. Additionally, rappers appease the people or fans from the West Coast using this type of gesture.
In the mid-1990s, there was a huge rivalry between rappers from East Coast (mostly based in New York) and West Coast (mostly based in Los Angeles). Since this was also the age of gangsta rap, many rappers also had a criminal past. Soon, this rivalry led to bloodshed on both sides.
Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight were the most famous members of the West Coast group. Tupac often raised his 4 fingers up to a W-letter shape. This way, Tupac showed his loyalty to the West Coast, as well as his thug life roots.
This gesture is typically described as extending the index and little fingers while interlacing the middle finger with the ring finger and fold the thumb into your palm, to form the letters “W” and “C” which stand for “West Coast.” It is a gesture associated with pride for the West Coast, especially within the hip hop community.
2. Gang Sign
Believe it or nor, but 4 fingers up can also be a gang sign. Gang members raise 4 fingers to represent their “hood.” This gesture is mostly prevalent among Florida gangs, especially among gangs coming from Pompano Beach, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, and Broward County.
However, even people who aren’t in gangs but come from these areas will sometimes raise 4 fingers to symbolize their block. So, if someone raises 4 fingers up, that might be a gang sign, but not necessarily. Watch for other clues to get the full picture.
3. Secret Gay
In 2022, there was a popular trend on TikTok where users gathered lots of photos of people making the same hand gesture – holding up the 4 fingers, playfully hinting that these individuals might be gay. So if you were secretly gay and didn’t want to come out, yet you wanted to share your homosexuality in a subtle way, you could raise your 4 fingers.
Of course, many people who weren’t actually gay raised their 4 fingers as a joke. Even the people who raised their 4 fingers for other reasons were often teased that they were gay.
4. Deep Love To Someone
Raising 4 fingers on Tiktok also has another, more serious and wholesome meaning. In this context, when a man raises his 4 fingers, that means that he is in love with one woman and loyal to her. Sometimes, 4 fingers up represent a man’s love and loyalty to his mother, sister, or other woman they love in a platonic way.
5. The Last Quarter Of The Football Game
American football players also use the 4 fingers up gesture to signal the beginning of last quarter. The last quarter is the last 15 minutes of the game, and they are crucial for the game outcome. A winning team needs to stay focused to keep their winning score. A losing team will try to overturn the result and end up winning the game.
In this context, 4 fingers up remind players to keep pushing. No matter what happened in the first three quarters, they still need to give their best and give everything they got. It is a powerful reminder to keep fighting and hoping for the best, even if our past was a failure.
6. A Way of Showing Support
You may see also high school and college students hold up 4 fingers, especially in a game or athletic event, it typically signifies support and solidarity of their team or school, particularly going into the fourth quarter of a game.
It’s a sign of unity, indicating that everyone is in it together until the very end. For the players, it’s a visual cue to maintain focus, energy, and effort. For the fans, it’s a way of showing their unwavering support for the team, encouraging them to give their best in the final moments of the game.
7. Danger Alert
In the early 2020s, the gesture of raising 4 fingers became viral for other reasons too. This gesture signals that someone is in immediate danger but can’t ask for help openly. Instead, the endangered person raises their hand and tucks their thumb into their palm.
Then, they raise their 4 fingers so that they face forward, and after a few seconds, they fold their fingers and form a fist. People started using this gesture during the pandemic and lockdown when there was a rise in domestic violence cases.
Victims of other types of violence also use this gesture to show they’re in danger. In 2021, a 16-year-old girl used this gesture to signal that she was being kidnapped. One passer-by noticed this and called the police, which quickly saved the girl from her kidnapper.
8. Mental Health Awareness
Over the past few years, mental health awareness has become higher than ever. People finally recognized how important mental health is. We also realized that mental health issues are more common than we thought and that they shouldn’t be taboo.
As a matter of fact, 1 in 4 persons are suffering from some mental health issues. Raising 4 fingers shows your solidarity with those people. And, if you are also suffering from mental health issues, raising 4 fingers up might be your way to start to speak up about your problems.
9. More Possible Meanings
There are several other potential meanings for 4 fingers up. Sometimes, 4 fingers up simply means number 4, and there is no hidden or symbolic meaning. Then, sometimes, 4 fingers up can be a symbol for “yes.”
In 2013, there were protests in Egypt, during which the supporters of Mohamed Morsi clashed with the Egyptian army. The protesters raised 4 fingers as a symbol of the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque because Rabaa is the Arabic word for the number 4.
As you can imagine, some people raise their 4 fingers up because they have seen others do it. They think it is cool when they see their favorite rappers, celebrities, and influencers doing it, so they do it as well in their photos and videos.
As you can see above, a gesture in which someone raises their 4 fingers up can mean several different things, depending on the context.
When trying to understand the meaning of this gesture, look for other clues and signs so that you can find out its true meaning.