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Exactly What It Says on the Tin
Helix: Is command presence also why people do the Sam Salute when they recognize you?
Helix: No, I mean the one where people put their hand over their wallet.
Oh, that one. I'm pretty sure that's a sign of respect.
, a Strange Salute
is simply an idiosyncratic greeting gesture featured in a piece of fiction. While understandably most common in Mildly Military
series, a Strange Salute
can pop up anywhere, at any time, provided that it is both common and codified enough to go beyond a mere single oddity.
Note that this trope
covers only strictly fictional salutes, saluters and/or salutees
. If Those Wacky Nazis
set their right arms straight at a 45-degree-angle above the horizontal (and slightly to the right) to greet Adolf Hitler
in a Wartime Cartoon
, it's certainly a
salute - one some might even find strange
- but not
a Strange Salute
. Now, on the other hand, if it were Scary Dogmatic Aliens
doing the same thing to the Big Bad
in a Space Opera
, well, well
For the more general version, see Memetic Hand Gesture
open/close all folders
- In Crest of the Stars and its sequels, Abh uses the Polish-style two-fingers salute, except that in this version, the palm is facing downward.
- The Hige-Hige salute in Bomberman Jetters is about as absurd as it can get: one extends both arms, hands folded into fists, to the right, draws a full circle with them in the vertical plane, and finishes by bending one's left leg. You should end up with something like this.◊
- In Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny, the ZAFT troops have a distinctive salute wherein the right hand (if present) is raised to one's temple, open palm facing inwards, towards the face, while the elbow stays directly below it, almost touching one's side. There is even a brief scene in SEED where Lacus coaches Kira how to do it properly. Don't try it at home unless you have an anime character's waist.
- Which may be yet another of numerous shout outs to earlier Gundam and Gundam-related Humongous Mecha series, in this case, to Space Runaway Ideon, whose Buff Clan military personnel salutes each other exactly the same way.
- Agents of the AEGIS Network in Gate Keepers salute by putting their right fists over the left side of their chests, and then moving their arms back to the right side as they form an inward-facing V sign. Yes, a V sign.
- A couple of these appear in One Piece. The White Berets of Skypeia make an odd hand gesture on their foreheads. Marines salute palm-inwards. Though, according to Oda, the latter is an actual sailor salute used to avoid showing tar-stained hands to your superiors.
- In Starblazers (Space Battleship Yamato), the regular military has the typical American salute, but the Star Force salute is fist over heart, palm down.
- Throughout the entire opening to Elfen Lied, the protagonist is depicted making a curious one-handed sign: With the back of her hand outward, middle and ring finger held together and the rest apart. Never seen or explained in the actual story. Hint: Compare with the Vulcan Salute depicted above. Very in-character.
- In Interstella5555 alien's soliders place closed fist over the heart.
- From tsuritama, Akira's crew hold up cards emblazoned with a "D", strike a Ginyu Force-esque pose, and shout "Duck!"
- The military in Attack on Titan have a distinctive salute, with the left arm crossed over the small of the back and their right hand clenched in a fist over their heart. A Drill Sergeant Nasty explains the symbolism of the pose, stating the fist over their heart signifies their devotion to sacrifice themselves for their King.
- In Franquin's Spirou and Fantasio series, the dictator Zantafio of Palumbia invents a salute where people have to move their hand, thumb upside down, over their head.
- Sometimes, Star Wars Expanded Universe comic books have some variant of American or British salutes. Sometimes they don't. There are a couple of cases where Imperials used something like the Roman salute, which the Nazi one is based on. And in one comic where Luke greets a superior his palm is turned outwards in what really looks like some kind of salute - since it's one panel and we see it from the superior's POV, it's hard to tell.
- The Idris in With Strings Attached have a head-heart-hand salute.
- In Harry Crow Flitwick put his right fist over his heart and bowed his head when Harry, who was raised by goblins, announced that he'd just been awarded the rank of Centurion.
- In Bait and Switch, Dul'krah, Clan Korekh, a member of an alien culture who isn't fully assimilated into Starfleet's less formal stylings, uses his species' salute when talking to his captain (the viewpoint character). It consists of pressing your forearm to your chest and bowing slightly.
- There's the infamous "crossed arms" from Plan 9 from Outer Space (screenshot◊).
- The Spaceball fleet in Spaceballs has a couple. First we have Lord Helmet's minions covering their groins whenever they speak to him (though this might be a purely practical defensive action, given his preferred method of dealing with sub-par performance). Then there's President Skroob's salute: make a rude hand sign, then immediately pretend to wave politely; perfectly appropriate for a two-faced backstabbing organization.
- In Galaxy Quest, the salute is for a fist to be placed over the heart, accompanied by saying "Never give up, never surrender."
- In the Marx Brothers film Duck Soup, the soldiers of Freedonia salute by placing their arm horizontally, with a down-facing open palm, across their chest.
- In the 1984 film version of 1984, soldiers marching on parade and the Outer Party members at a frenzied "Two Minutes Hate" wave both clenched fists overhead with their wrists crossed. A very similar gesture is seen in Pink Floyd: The Wall, but there the wrists are repeatedly banged together.
- In the films based on Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings, the soldiers of the hosts of Minas Tirith in Gondor salute by holding their right hand in a fist over their heart with the enclosed palm facing inwards. This is often accompanied by a half bow or a tip of the head forward. In the book, they put both hands on their chest and bow their heads.
- In Monty Pythons Life Of Brian, members of the People's Front of Judea (Officials) salute each other by holding the right hand in a fist to the right temple, thumb down.
- The air guitar riff in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, thanks to the idiot protagonists' historical influence, becomes the standard salute of the future.
- In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the 2005 film), the Oompa-Loompas salute by crossing their arms over their chests — possibly inspired by the Plan 9 from Outer Space example mentioned above.
- In Moon Child, Sho, Kei and Toshi have a private friendship salute that involves placing their index and middle fingers at the bridge of their noses, sticking their thumbs out (sort of like a gun, but the fingers are more spread) and saluting in an outwards curve.
- In The Last Castle, Robert Redford's character, a three-star general is put into a military prison. When the other inmates begin to respect him, they aren't permitted to salute, so they raise the right hand to the right temple— and then run the fingers through the hair.
- In the german movie Die Welle (remake of The Wave) the salute of the titular student organisation was a sea-wave hand motion.
- In Morons from Outer Space, Griff Rhys Jones guiltily claps a hand over the breast pocket of his stolen uniform to hide the name tag (in case someone realises it's not his) this is mistaken for a salute by visiting politicians who return it, then use it to a colonel, who returns it also.
- In the 2011 Captain America film, the members of Red Skull's Hydra organisation give a fist-clenched double Nazi salute (identical to the one from the comics). This gives an effect not dissimilar to pantomime hang-gliding.
- The "Zoltan!" gesture in Dude Wheres My Car.
- The red martians have one in John Carter.
- In the Save Our Students parody High School High, a student does a throat-slitting gesture on seeing the idealistic white teacher, who mistakes it for this trope and responds with the peace sign.
- This is, in fact, Older Than Print, with Dante's Divine Comedy having an example with Malacoda and the Malebranche: One of the demons salutes his cohorts by farting.
- also Older Than Steam - in the Aubrey - Maturin novels and film, sailors salute officers using a gesture involving touching their forehead with one knuckle of a loosely clenched fist. This was a variation of an older, civilian gesture indicating that the sailor would have doffed their hat, if they had one ( although the wearing of a hat, or not, was disregarded for the purpose ). Note that officers saluted each other by various hat-doffing and hand-shaking formalities.
- Dr. Seuss's The Birthday Book has a special birthday salute that involves standing on one foot. This being Dr. Seuss, it also has a fun name.
- The Movie of Horton Hears A Who also has the Whos salute by pressing their foreheads with their thumbs and holding their hands sideways.
- When Detritus the troll first joins the Night Watch, he can't get the hang of saluting, and tends to knock himself out.
- Apprentice Postman Stanley Howler of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office in Going Postal is introduced while standing to attention with "one side significantly more at attention than the other." According to Junior Postman Groat, Stanley was raised by peas and tends to turn towards the sun.
- In The Saga of Darren Shan, book 5, Trials of Death, the vampires Darren passes on the way to his trials do a strange sign, placing their hand in front of their face with the middle finger on their forehead, with the index and ring fingers placed on the eyelids. This is called the Death's Touch, which is meant to mean "even in death, may you be triumphant". Becomes a Meaningful Echo later in the book.
- In the Sword of Truth series, the D'Haran salute has the soldier in question place a fist to their heart.
- In Larry Niven's Known Space series, the alien Kzinti salute by raking their claws horizontally in front of their eyes.
- In Walter Jon Williams' Dread Empire's Fall series, the standard salute is to lift your chip up and to the side, symbolically baring your throat to your superior.
- Kim Newman puts one into his Diogenes Club story "Swellhead", for comic effect. Swellhead's troopers salute him by placing a closed fist on their forehead; One character, observing this, struggles not to laugh (which would probably get her killed) as it's what kids use to say "knobhead".
- In the Star Trek Novel Verse, the Kinshaya flare their wings as their version of a salute - this also serves to display the wing colours that signify family lineage, reinforcing the hierarchy in more ways than one.
- The Vorkosigan Saga has the 'ImpSec Analyst's Salute', which is a two-fingered wave in the general direction of the forehead. Analysts, Mildly Military desk jockeys that they are, can't be bothered to salute with the proper Ops-style precision.
- In The Hunger Games, District 12 has a salute - touching the middle three fingers of the left hand to their lips and holding it out - that means thanks, adoration, and goodbye to someone you love.
- The Tribe in the Warrior Cats series has a greeting gesture, which the Clan cats find strange: extending a paw while bowing the head.
- Bill the Galactic Hero, having two right arms, is the only man in the military able to salute with both arms at once.
- In the New Jedi Order series, the Yuuzhan Vong salute by crossing their arms in front of their chests and planting their fists on opposite shoulders. Tahiri, who is half-Yuuzhan Vong, is depicted as performing the gesture on the American version of the cover of the penultimate novel, The Final Prophecy.
Live Action TV
- The TV series Xena: Warrior Princess has the traditional greeting/gesture of submission utilized when entering Amazon territory consisting of raising one's arms and crossing one's wrists above one's head, wrists inward. This is, presumably to attest to one's lack of access to weapons. William Moulton Marston might just have something else to say about that, however. Additionally being as most characters we see performing the gesture are female—and considering the orientation of many Amazon warriors... * display* might not have been excluded entirely from the equation, either, shall we say...
- Star Trek, the perennial Mildly Military Space Opera, of course featured a gazillion of these.
- Occupants of The Village in The Prisoner bid farewell by saying the phrase "Be seeing you" after forming a monocle over one's eye with the thumb and the forefinger, with the rest of the fingers extended diagonally above the forehead.
- Babylon 5:
- The Psi Corps use a salute that's an homage to the salute in The Prisoner above, except that the "monocle" is formed over one's forehead, to symbolize a "third eye".
- The Narns cross their arms across their chest, hands balled up as fists, as a salute.
- Members of the Minbari Warrior Caste hold their right fist in front of the chest, with the open left palm pressed against the right fist (think the standard "tough guy" pose), while half-bowing. The Minbari Religious Caste has a relatively simple bow while steepling the fingers.
- Parodied in Red Dwarf, with Rimmer inventing his own ridiculously complicated salute. He's actually injured himself performing the more complicated variants of this salute.
- Further explored in the books, where the 'Double Rimmer' is joined by the "Full Rimmer" and the "Single Rimmer," three rotations of the wrist before a salute "for emergencies." That's the simplified one.
- The full service one shows up in one of the later episodes. It's contrasted with Lister's less than military friendly wave to the captain.
- Another British comedy to feature the continual use of salutes is Garth Marenghi's Garth Marenghis Darkplace. This spoof horror 1980s television show contains the main protagonist, Dr. Rick Dagless M.D., utilising dramatic salutes in several situations; for example, he salutes his fellow doctors after a successful mission or children patients after he's saved their lives.
- In 3rd Rock from the Sun, the High Commander salutes The Big Giant Head by hitting the palm of his right hand onto his forehead, rotating the hand. The rest of the aliens salute by holding their right hands towards their foreheads with the palm facing upwards and fingers pointing to the right.
- In the Doctor Who serial Paradise Towers the caretakers saluted by holding up their hand horizontally under their nose!
- In the episode Inferno, The fascist army of an alternate-history UK had a salute sort of like the Vulcan one, but without the split fingers.
- The New Cybermen acknowledge orders by placing their fists over their "C" chest-logos.
- In "Genesis of the Daleks," we learn that a Kaled salute is a quick stamp of the heels. In "Remembrance of the Daleks," Ratcliffe greets someone in this manner. Given Ratcliffe's fascistic tendencies, it's entirely intentional.
- Parodied in "The Architect's Sketch" on Monty Python's Flying Circus, which features a number of increasingly bizarre secret Masonic handshakes.
- Camp Cariboo did a segment on funny handshakes, from lumberjacks to foot doctors (described as "corny") and farmers (""udderly ridiculous").
- An episode of Welcome Freshmen had a very long salute done by the new militaristic Hall Monitors that involved using both hands and a full spin, accompanied by drumbeats. Each monitor had to give the full salute every time he was given an order, which gave the offending student time to just walk away without being apprehended.
- The humans of the Pegasus galaxy in Stargate Atlantis lean their foreheads against each other. The Jaffa in Stargate SG-1 have a few of these as well.
- In Power Rangers S.P.D. and in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, the SPD salute consists of clenching your right hand into a fist over your left shoulder, then drawing it over your heart.
- In the "Clown Virus" episode The Goodies are trying to sneak onto a US military base when they're confronted by a soldier. They brazen it out with a dramatic salute and end up thumping themselves on the nose. The soldier's return salute causes his helmet to spin around on his head.
- In the Imperium of Man, a common way to salute is to form the "aquila" symbol, by crossing your hands over your chest, fingers outstretched, so that your hands form the symbolic wings and the thumbs intertwined to form the double head of the eagle.
- It's also an expression of piety roughly equivalent to crossing yourself.
- And if you're a member of the Cult Mechanicus, the "sign of the cog" is basically the same, just curve the fingers to shorten the wings to gear teeth. Convenient!
- The old, pro-Unity salute was a single clenched fist to the chest. Dan Abnett has a very old Space Marine use it instead of the aquila in Horus Rising.
- That's actually the standard Space Marine salute by the 41st millennium.
- There's also a single handed variant mentioned in the Ciaphas Cain series, known as "thumbing the palm": fingers slightly splayed, with the tip of the thumb resting just between the start of the index and middle fingers
- In Assassin's Creed I, Lucy Stillman identifies herself as a friend of Desmond by holding her right hand open to her chest and curving in her ring finger (think "the shocker"). This identifies her as an Assassin, and therefore an ally of Desmond. Whether this is a Assassin salute or simply a coded gesture she hopes Desmond will understand is up for grabs - it represents Altair's loss of his ring finger to make room for the hidden blade.
- The Windurstian salute in Final Fantasy XI is pretty bizarre - you hold your arms before you diagonally, with your fingertips nearly meeting up top. The San d'Orian and Bastokan salutes are more normal - stand at attention and pound your forearm and fist to your chest, and step forward with your left foot while holding your right arm (with balled fist) out before you horizontally as though to guard, respectively. There are also cutscene-only Jeunoan and Aht Urghanian salutes; Aht Urghan's is also pretty weird - with a flattened hand, start at the top of your head and trace a three-quarter circle to your side.
- Obviously, the last Star Sybil was Gendo Ikari.
- Then there's the salute from the followers of the church of Altana. Raise both hands, open and palms up, while bowing your head.
- The 12 playable races in World of Warcraft each have their own unique salute.
- In the Quest for Glory series, the Thieves' Sign (a type of salute for thieves to covertly make themselves known to other thieves) changed slightly throughout the games, but involved something similar to crossing your eyes while wiggling the fingers on one hand and rubbing your belly with the other. It had a few practical uses for progressing in the game, but mostly it just made people think you were a little loopy.
- Show Me Your Moves! This is Captain Falcon's taunt phrase accompanied by the salute.
- In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the X-Nauts salute by crossing their arms in an x over their chests.
- Cloud in Final Fantasy VII, asked by some soldiers to come up with a "special move" with which to salute Rufus, teaches them a very Strange Salute: a straight adaptation of his Victory Pose.
- The SeeD salute in Final Fantasy VIII consists of raising the right hand, palm turned inward, to partially cover the face. This becomes a minor plot point later in the game, when Selphie uses the wrong salute when disguised as a Galbadian soldier. Another point has Rinoa pretending to be a SeeD, and is shown mimicking it with a slight delay, as she was never taught it.
- Final Fantasy X: The prayer of the Yevon religion is, to Tidus' suprise, the same as the mundane blitzball victory gesture he always used in Zanarkand: hold hands before torso as if holding a blitzball, then bow. The blitzball victory sign became the real Zanarkand's act of defiance against Bevelle in the war 1000 years ago, and when Yu Yevon subdued them, he had Bevelle adopt the victory sign as their prayer to show their obedience to him.
- There's also a Crusader salute, which consists of a clenched left fist held directly in front of your heart.
- In Final Fantasy X-2, the Youth League members salute with their arm horizontal across their chest, and their open palm facing down.
- In Space Rangers, the Maloqs are a Proud Warrior Race Guy, whose salute is punching the one being saluted in the shoulder. If you wish to show great respect for the saluted, you punch them in the jaw. Because Maloqs are physically very strong, diplomacy with other races can be bit iffy; in one quest, a Maloq purposefully holds himself back in order to not kill you with his punch.
- The Brotherhood of Nod's salute is downright tame compared to some other video game examples: just thrust your fist to your heart, and there you go. Bowing your head or reciting Nod's mantras is optional, but fully welcomed.
- City of Heroes: Going Rogue introduced the Praetoria salute: Feet together, right hand outstretched, palm down, then bend elbow, placing hand over heart, then bow head.
- Metroid: Other M has soldiers giving a thumbs up after a briefing. It's not clear whether this is a universal salute or just used to indicate understanding. Samus herself gives a thumbs down.
- Viewtiful Joe has 'The Airplanes'. Bend your ring and index fingers, and stick your little finger and thumb out to the sides. Turn your palm towards yourself if you're the one being awesome, otherwise point your middle finger at the recipient. This is what it should look like◊.
- Turian soldiers in Mass Effect 3 salute by holding their weapons upright, parallel to the body. When unarmed, they repeat the gesture sans gun instead.
- In The Old Republic, Republic soldiers use a more-or-less standard American salute, but Imperial soldiers don't actually have one — instead, drawing oneself to attention and then relaxing serves the same purpose.
- The Fire Nation in Avatar: The Last Airbender has a universal fist-against-palm salute the characters find themselves in need of picking up on.
- The DOOP in Futurama have their own salute. The story behind this one is apparently that one of the writers asked his son "How do they salute in the future?".
- In "The Wild Green Yonder", the Feministas adopt one that involves a two-fisted double-breast-pat-and-salute.
- MAD agents from Inspector Gadget essentially punch themselves in the temple to salute their superiors. It's accompanied by a hollow knocking sound effect, and it looks like it hurts(on more than one occasion, an agent salutes at the end of a conversation and knocks themselves out). More than likely, Dr. Claw made it up so his minions would injure themselves for his amusement. Though his agents repeatedly concussing themselves probably isn't doing their intelligence any favors.