The automatic display of arcane (and presumably protective) finger and hand positions in the wake of a surprising, stunning or physically traumatic experience. Most often this is the ''mano cornuta'' gesture -- index finger and pinky raised, middle two fingers bent down to meet the thumb. While this gesture has roots in ancient Greece and is used in many societies worldwide, Americans may best know it as "throwing the horns", from its common use at heavy metal concerts (having been popularized in that context by Music/RonnieJamesDio) or as the "hook 'em horns" from University of Texas, with the thumb and pinkie finger extended, to look like longhorns.

Not common, but it ''is'' found here and there spread across a few cultural media. In Italy and some other countries, the gesture can represent CuckoldHorns and is considered a dire insult.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* Many of the characters in ''RanmaOneHalf'' display WardingGestures after being hit with a large blunt object, or after suffering a FaceFault.
** Another work by Rumiko Takahashi, eponymous character ''Manga/InuYasha'' does this when Kagome says "Osuwari" (or "SIT, BOY!" in the dub), which sends him face-first into the ground.
** Yet another work by RumikoTakahashi, ''MaisonIkkoku'', makes use of this on occasion. Though, since ''Maison Ikkoku'' places far less emphasis on slapstick comedy than Takahashi's other work, this trope is invoked far less often by comparison.
* Several characters do this in ''KashimashiGirlMeetsGirl'', in similar circumstances.
* In ''RuneSoldierLouie'', the priestess Melissa occasionally makes WardingGestures in response to shock or surprise.
* Foxy from ''OnePiece'' does this to shoot his Moron Moro-I mean, Noro Noro Beam.
* Slight variant: Yuuta in ''ZombieLoan'' does this with his hands fairly often... and has them talk to each other, but then again, [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Yuuta's a bit nuts]].

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Comicbook/DoctorStrange commonly uses ''mano cornuta'' during [[MagicalGesture spellcasting]].

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[[folder:Literature]]

* From the ''[[Literature/TheWheelOfTime Wheel of Time]]'', one of the Seanchan Empire's cultural differences between the Westland are their use of hand gestures in this fashion, including the horn.
* "The Holy Horns" in ''[[Literature/{{Discworld}} Small Gods]]'', used as a holy sign for the church of Om, since one of Om's physical manifestations in the past was [[ALoadOfBull a large bull]].
* In ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'', Roland and other characters occasionally use the ''mano cornuta'' when evil powers are mentioned aloud, which is pretty close to its historical use in RealLife.
* [[Literature/VorkosiganSaga Miles Vorkosigan]] has put up with people making hand gestures at him "to ward off mutation" for his entire life.
* Many of the peasants that Jonathan Harker, and later Mina and Van Helsing, encounter in ''Literature/{{Dracula}}'' do this using the typical "throwing the horns" gesture.
* This is used by worshippers of Ulric in the TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} world as the sign of the wolf. At least in the GotrekAndFelix novels.
* In the ''Literature/TortallUniverse'', people who fear mages often do the 'sign against evil' when they see magic being done, or hear it mentioned. It's stated [[AllThereInTheManual in the back of one book]] that it's a five pointed star, and the books specify it's made with one's hand. Luckily for them, [[BullyingADragon no mages seem to take offense to this.]]
* In PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians, their Ancient Greek warding-off-evil gesture is a three-fingered claw over the heart, then pushing the hand outward.
* Several Elene characters in ''{{Literature/TheElenium}}'' use hand gestures to ward off Styric magic. It is not actually effective in doing this. It is implied that the Elenes who do this picked it up from watching Styrics, who use hand gestures as part of their spell casting.
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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Guinan in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' does a version of this when confronted by Q and doesn't lower her hands until he lowers his first. Given what we'd seen of Q's power (even with this only being his third appearance) it's impressive that Guinan even ''thinks'' she can do something about Q if he decides to attack her. Q's reaction (involving his own gesturing in her direction) indicates that he takes Guinan seriously. [[AlmightyJanitor Just who]] ''[[AlmightyJanitor is]]'' [[AlmightyJanitor this bartender]]? [[spoiler: The ExpandedUniverse books reveal that the whole [[Film/StarTrekGenerations Nexus]] thing means a bit of her is still there - even ''before,'' due to the way the Nexus works. This makes her more than your average bartender, though ''far'' from Q's power level.]]
* For some reason this is part of the basic stance of [[Series/BabylonFive Minbari]] martial arts.
* The Senshi in ''Series/PrettyGuardianSailorMoon'' often make the fox-head gesture before or during attacks.
* ''Series/{{Rome}}''. Vorenus' daughter does this behind her back while pretending to reconcile with her father, whom she believes is evil after the events last season that destroyed their family.

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[[folder:Music]]

* Used ''universally'' in the heavy metal subculture, and increasingly in other rock & roll settings, as a general sign of appreciation. The original reasoning for Dio's usage of the gesture is that when he joined Music/BlackSabbath, he wanted to use a hand sign on stage as Ozzy was known for using the peace sign, but he didn't want to use the same symbol as Ozzy, so he opted for the symbol that his Italian grandmother had used to ward off the Evil Eye.

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[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* The "Aquila" hand gesture in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', in this case performed by linking your thumbs together fingers straight, across your chest palms towards your chest. It's that butterfly people make with their hands when playing with shadows (and looks like the iconic double-headed eagle of the franchise), and is equivalent to crossing yourself.
** The [[AveMachina Adeptus Mechanicus]] use a variant where the fingertips are folded up to resemble gear teeth, representing their cogwheel symbol.
** Literature/CiaphasCain ('''HERO OF THE IMPERIUM''') has a personal gesture he calls "thumbing his palm", which spreads out the other fingers like an eagle's wing.

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[[folder:Theatre]]
* In ''Theatre/TheRoseTattoo'', Serafina makes the ''mano cornuta'' gesture to ward off the Strega and the black goat in her yard.
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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Faust in the ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear'' series makes WardingGestures after getting hit particularly hard.
* The Undead building construction icon in ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} III'' shows a skeleton hand throwing the horns, as does the ChainLightning icon (with an Orc hand).

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