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
Anime and Manga
- 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.
- The Adventures of Tintin: Tintin and Captain Haddock get their hands crushed upon meeting a Boisterous Bruiser type archeologist. It's noted that he's not being competitive or mean spirited, he just has a very strong grip.
- In the first Astérix book, after the first time Asterix takes the magic potion in the franchise, he shakes Getafix's hand, resulting in Getafix complaining
- In Superman: Secret Origin, Sgt. John Corben does this to Lois Lane's new co-worker to intimidate him, but considering this is Clark Kent, it doesn't work.
- A Richie Rich comic had Cadbury do this to Richie's uncle, Olympius Van Sporting, who winces with "E-gad, what a GRIP!" (Unknown to Cadbury, the uncle had dismissed Cadbury as a "sissy butler.")
- 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. Zod did.
- 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 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 crush each other's hands in an competition of alpha male superiority. After the camera lingers on their bulging arms for a few seconds, Dillon finally surrenders.
- Dr. No: Averted—"Forgive me for not... shaking hands ..." He later demonstrates his mechanical hands' impressive strength by crushing a gold statuette.
- In The Party, Bakshi receives a crushing handshake from the cowboy actor.
- 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. In the first few books, Oliver Wood was able to give as good as he got, but Angelina and Harry (during their respective stints as captain in the later books) had to keep themselves from wincing.
- 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.
- Subverted in Unseen Academicals, when Andy squeezes Nutt's hand so hard it makes Andy's hand sore, with no discernible effect on Nutt.
- 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.
- A variant in Game of Thrones with Lysa and Sansa. Lysa initially holds Sansa's hands gently as a gesture of affection, but her grip becomes hard and cruel when Lysa starts questioning if Sansa and Petyr are romantically/sexually involved.
- Played with at WCW Bash at the Beach 1998. Stevie Ray faced Chavo Guerrero, with the stipulation that if Chavo didn't win the match, he had to face Eddie Guerrero in a "loser gets their head shaved" match immediately following. Chavo, wanting to be fresh for the next match (and REALLY wanting to get to Eddie after weeks of abuse at his hands) offers Stevie a pre-match handshake.....and immediately taps out once a shocked-looking Stevie takes his hand. Chavo would proceed to lose to Eddie and shave his own head.
- In Super Street Fighter IV, Turkish oil wrestler Hakan does this to Sumo wrestler E. Honda before his rival battle after they disagree on which style of wrestling is the best.
- In Heileen 3, when Morgan first meets John, he delivers a strong handshake that makes John wince in pain.
- Demonstrated competitively by Zii and Angel of Ménage à 3 in this strip.
- Talked about in Three Panel Soul, about how a counter to this is to grab around the other guy's fingers instead of palm to palm.