Crushing Handshake YKTTW Discussion

Crushing Handshake
A person, often a big or strong guy, returns a handshake with a grip that causes the other pain
(permanent link) added: 2012-11-28 20:51:50 sponsor: WeAreAllKosh edited by: maxwellsilver (last reply: 2013-06-23 01:20:14)

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Two people, often two men, shake hands. One of the men grips harder than the other one, and the other guy might start wincing or showing signs of clear discomfort. The guy delivering the Crushing Handshake might grin about it, having shown off his superior strength or "manliness". This could be done to show off just that, or as a hint that the other guy doesn't like you, or wants to intimidate you--for instance, if he's a rival for a love interest. Or it could be that he Does Not Know His Own Strength. When both parties attempt to do this, the results can be embarrassing for one or both, which can be played for laughs. Can be related to Bear Hug.



  • An Archie Comics story had this happen to Mr. Weatherbee when congratulating substitute hall monitor Maria Rodriguez for teaching the other students not to run in the halls. Maria is actually a lot stronger than she looks so she crushes the bee's hand while giving him a handshake. The last panel shows Mr. Weatherbee getting his hand bandaged by Miss Grundy.


  • Superman II. General Zod thinks that Superman has lost all of his powers. He demands that Superman take his hand and swear eternal loyalty to him. Superman takes Zod's hand and crushes it, breaking bones. It turns out he hadn't actually lost his powers.
  • Happens in Disney's Hercules, when Hercules shakes Phil's hand. Herc is so excited to meet his mentor that he forgets to be careful with his Super Strength.
  • The Master of Disguise: Pistachio receives one when Jennifer first introduces him to her boyfriend, Trent (who already suspects and accusers Pistachio of trying to put the moves on her).
  • In Mel Brooks' High Anxiety, Dr. Charles Montague does this to the main character when they're formally introduced, and during the handshake he says "I was the one in charge before you came".
  • From Predator: When Dutch and Dillon meet after many years apart they shake hands. Dutch applies increasing pressure until Dillon surrenders.


  • Ciaphas Cain's augmetic fingers have given him the upper hand (ha ha) at least once in regards to this trope.
  • In the Harry Potter books, the Slytherin quidditch team captain tends to do this when he shakes hands with the Gryffindor captain at the begining of a match.
  • Skip Tyler, Jack Ryan's good friend, was described as giving overly powerful handshakes of the Does Not Know His Own Strength variety.
  • Alluded to in Take A Thief -- when Skif and Deek agree to work together, Skif is impressed that Deek doesn't try this.

Live-Action TV

  • In a memorable episode of I Love Lucy, Fred's grip was actually enough to bring John Wayne to his knees, but when he tries it on Ethel, Ethel's grip actually brings Fred to his knees.
  • M*A*S*H: During the M*A*S*H Olympics, Hawkeye and B.J. make a wager with each other, but when they shake on it, B.J. jokingly tries to crush Hawkeye's hand.
  • In an episode of Bones, Booth meets Cam's step-daughter's new boyfriend. After greeting him enthusiastically, Booth throws in some not-very-veiled threats about treating the girl right, including mentioning that he used to be a sniper, and finishes off with a handshake that leaves the kid wincing and rubbing his hand.
  • In The West Wing, this happens so often to presidential candidate Arnold Vinick that he ends up with a fractured hand, making handshakes of any firmness agonizing.
  • In an episode of Go On Bob Costas is revealed to do this all the time, and almost always wins.


  • In The Stan Freberg Show, in the interview between Stan Freberg and the Abominable Snowman, the latter gives the former a very painful-sounding handshake:
    Stan: Would you mind squeezing my hand the other way to get it back in shape?

Stand-up Comedy

Western Animation

  • Bluto/Brutus does this to Popeye in several Popeye cartoons, followed by a shot of Popeye's red, crushed hand and a "wrumph-wrumph" sound effect.
  • In the revival He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon, there is an episode where Man at Arms shakes hands with his brother. When they shake, the brother's mechanical hand can be heard clanking, implying he's applying more pressure than he needs to. Man at Arms doesn't scream, however.
  • In the Goof Troop episode "Leader of the Pack", Max rides into a drive-in restaurant in a "car" (actually a grocery cart with a cardboard car in front of it) and with a "babe" (actually PJ holding a cardboard girl over his face). Gang leader Duke comes over to meet Max's babe, and PJ introduces himself a Clarice. They shake hands, with Duke squeezing PJ's hand.
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