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"Why's your forehead all red?"

So you're the Only Sane Man, and the lunatics around you are once again doing something to make you question your faith in humanity. *sighs* It may not solve anything, but raising your hand to your forehead will have the dual benefit of temporarily obscuring your vision of the idiocy as well as cradling the oncoming headache. Variations occur, from pinching the bridge of one's nose to slapping one's forehead. One may also slap the forehead, sliding the palm of the hand down the face, possibly with a look of exasperation. If they're wearing a hat, expect them to pull the brim of the hat over their eyes in disgust. If they're wearing a cloak or a hoodie, then they're pulling the cowl before their face.

Sometimes, there is a distinction between the forehead facepalm (for irritating moments) and the full-face version (humiliation). There's also the Double Face Palm, which is grasping one's head with both palms, as Picard did in "The Offspring"; this one is far more commonly associated with embarrassment. Some people even have gone meta, inserting "*picture of French Enterprise captain*" in their forum posts.


Needless to say, it's also prevalent in Real Life. And it's universal; a wide range of cultures, and even animals capable of reaching their faces with their arms/forelegs, seem to have some variety of this.

It may be accompanied by the line "That's the Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard!" It may also be combined with I Need a Freaking Drink. Applying a Dope Slap is often a form of ready relief for the headaches that cause a Face Palm.

A Sister Trope to Head Desk (in particularly extreme cases, these actions can also be combined to perform a *facepalmheaddesk* maneuver), Face Fault, Disapproving Look, (which is also known as the "Implied Facepalm").

Compare Surrounded by Idiots, Only Sane Man, The Take.

See also Aside Glance, Stunned Silence.

Not directly related to Face Palm Of Doom, in which you attack by placing your palm on someone else's face.


Now in Webster's Dictionary here!

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Other Examples

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  • Jack in the Box. Jack and others facepalm themselves and/or massage their heads in various commercials.
  • V-8 vegetable juice used a campaign for quite a while that involved people dealing themselves the forehead slap version when they realized "Duh, I could have had a V-8!" The campaign was later revived with other people delivering a forehead variant of the Dope Slap to the person who didn't eat their vegetables and the tagline changed to You could have had a V-8!".
  • The Discover Card Peggy commercial "Transfer" ends with the caller standing bent over a planter, her face buried in her hands in frustration.
  • GEICO:
    • The Gecko, when the company briefly considers using a campy cartoon version of him.
    "So you've turned me into a cartoon. Lovely."
    • Also, with the Gecko, Rocky and Bullwinkle. Rocky is the one who does the facepalm first. The Gecko just catches on to it.
    Rocky: Aww, come on, Bullwinkle. They're named after-
    Bullwinkle: First president George Rockington!
    *Rocky looks at Gecko*
    Gecko: That doesn't even make any sense, Mr. ...uh... Winkle.
    • There's also a print ad that talks about saving money with GEICO being no laughing matter. The ad depicts an iguana stating "I-guana save you money" and the Gecko standing next to him, facepalming.

  • Plate 10 of William Hogarth's Industry and Idleness series of prints shows industrious 'prentice Francis Goodchild, now Alderman of London, doing this as his idle counterpart Tom Idle is brought before him on charges of highway robbery and murder.
  • Across the street from the Oklahoma City National Memorial is a statue of Jesus Christ performing this gesture. The statue, "And Jesus Wept", depicts him averting his gaze and crying at the loss of life in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing that killed 168 people in 1995, in addition to severely damaging St. Joseph's Catholic Church, which used to be located where the statue now stands (the congregation of the church financed the statue's construction).

    Print Media 
  • Maclean's magazine columnist Scott Feschuk's author thumbnail has him doing this. Considering the fact that his column focuses on satirizing some of the most facepalm-inducing topics of the month, this is quite appropriate (it's also hilarious to imagine him doing it while typing out his article).

    Pro Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show:
    • Sam the Eagle is a frequent practitioner of the facewingtip, but he will often simply utter his signature phrase, "You are all weirdos."
    • Others try them out now and then, such as Rowlf in the Rudolf Nureyev episode facepawing when Fozzie cuts through a candle with a blowtorch.
  • Parker on Mr. Meaty does this gesture in the episode "Hamish" in annoyance at Josh talking to Goth Girl.
  • Betty Lou does so on the Sesame Street game show sketch "The Triangle Is Right" after Carl Mericana answers "A Circle".

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine: This is one of the standard XP Emotions, indicating a character who is hapless and goofy and thus can earn XP by inducing amused facepalms among the other players. Of the Glass-Maker's Dragon core characters, this honour goes to the Wishing Boy/Girl, a character whose use of the ability to rewrite the universe with few hard and fast restrictions largely boils down to "I wish seagulls were cooler" and failed attempts to get ice cream.

  • In the 2000 production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Jusas's reaction to Simon and his calls for armed revolution in the song "Simon Zealotes" is a series of continual face-palms, followed by continual glares at Jesus for allowing it to get this bad in the first place.

    Visual Novels 
  • Katawa Shoujo
    • Rin Tezuka has her own unique variation.
    • In Lilly's Act 1 ending, Hisao does this when Lilly responds to his asking about her being depressed over Akira's departure by saying that "Akira's taken."
      Hisao: Lilly never sees how fast my palm meets my face at her sly accusation.
  • Done in a single finger-way by Kotoko Minaduki in a concept art of Tokimeki Memorial 2; on the other hand, the final art scratches this in favor of a "let's ignore those idiots" look.
  • In Fate/stay night, Rin Tohsaka can often be found doing this, usually in response to something Shiro said.

    Web Animation 
  • In the "record book" sbemail on Homestar Runner, when Coach Z announces his record attempt, Strong Bad finds it so monumentally stupid that he skips facepalming entirely and repeatedly smacks himself upside the head.
  • Dr. Greg Converse does this in Episode 42 of The Most Popular Girls in School when he tries to get Trisha to bitch him out... and discovers that she can only Poke the Poodle.
  • The video announcing the return of the TF2 Analysis shorts concludes with the line "That is... if we can find enough headeache pills for the doc to cope...", and Dr. Wolf is seen facepalming.