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Strange Salute

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"Live long and prosper."

Helix: Is command presence also why people do the Sam Salute when they recognize you?
Sam: Sam Salute. That's not the gesture with the finger, is it?
Helix: No, I mean the one where people put their hand over their wallet.
Sam: Oh, that one. I'm pretty sure that's a sign of respect.

Exactly What It Says on the Tin, 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 real-life salutes, see Military Salute. This is sometimes involved with Fictional Greetings and Farewells. Subtrope of Idiosyncratic Cultural Gesture.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • One Piece:
    • The Marines salute like the real life Royal Navy, with the back of the hand facing forward. Oda mentions its origins in the SBS to avoid showing tar-stained hands to your superiors.
    • The White Berets of Skypeia make an odd hand gesture on their foreheads.
  • In Space Battleship Yamato, the regular military has the typical American salute, but the Star Force salute is fist over heart, palm down.
  • In Space Battleship Yamato 2199, the Gamilon salute is to hold your right Palm facing towards the salutee, fingers pointing up, at roughly head height and off to the right. They generally does this and say "Zar Balk" when ending a conversation with a superior.
  • 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.
  • In Interstella 5555, alien soldiers 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.
  • The salute for the Space Patrol in Space Patrol Luluco is putting your hand in the shape of a gun and pointing your forearm upwards.
  • Majestic Prince has a Yamato-style fist-on-heart salute amongst the GDF.
  • Valkyries in Warlords of Sigrdrifa salute while winking, to symbolize their connection to the one-eyed god Odin. Oddly, the eye they close is not the eye Odin is missing.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, the Adelians have the right-hand to the chin, palm facing downward.

    Comic Books 
  • In Franquin's Spirou & Fantasio series:
    • The dictator Zantafio of Palumbia invents a salute where people have to move their hand, thumb upside down, over their head. At one point a character tries saluting while holding a hammer and ends up hitting himself on the head. Throughout the whole story, Fantasio (who has become a Colonel in Zantafio's army) gives a different gesture in response to the salutes he gets, including thumbing his nose.
    • And in the same comic, the "electronic dictator" Zorglub's henchmen salute by putting their right index fingers in their right ears, shouting "Eviv Bulgroz!" ("Vive Zorglub!"note  backwards).
  • In Achille Talon, the Zotrland's salute consists in pointing a finger upwards.
  • 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.
  • Wonder Woman: The Amazons salute by crossing their wrists above their brow with their fists clenched.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • There's the infamous "crossed arms" from Plan 9 from Outer Space.
  • 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 (specifically, the "up yours" gesture), 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 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 Python's 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. They meet up with the Committee for Free Galilee who salute by holding their hands in front of their faces, pinky-finger side out and thumb side in.
  • 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 The Wave (2008) (remake of The Wave (1981)) the salute of the titular student organisation was a sea-wave hand motion.
  • In Mom and Dad Save the World, the official salute of the Planet Spengo is a triple Sieg Hiel using alternating hands. It looks ridiculous.
  • 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 realizes 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.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Captain America: The First Avenger, 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.
    • Subsequently used (and infamously mocked) on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: "Put your arms down, Kaminski. You look like a West Texas cheerleader at a pep rally."
    • In Black Panther, Wakandans salute by crossing their arms over their chest to form a W.
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and its sequel, the Ravagers salute by taking a clenched right fist and striking their chest near the heart, twice. When Yondu does it in the sequel to Stakar, one of the other, senior captains, and he doesn't return it, you can tell Yondu is in trouble for something. In this case, transporting children for Ego, directly in violation of the Ravagers' Code.
  • The "Zoltan!" gesture in Dude, Where's 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.
  • The War Boys of Mad Max: Fury Road hail their leader Immortan Joe by raising their arms over their heads, fingers outstretched and interlaced to mimic the cylinders of a V8 engine. It's less a salute than it is a quasi-religious symbol of glory, victory and devotion.
  • HOUBA! On the Trail of the Marsupilami: As in Franquin's comics (see above), the Palombian soldiers have a weird salute, with the thumb touching the head, the pinkie raised and the other fingers closed.
  • In Dune and Dune: Part Two, House Atreides' battle salute consists of touching the fist holding a blade to the heart, and touching the flat of the blade to the forehead.

  • This is, in fact, Older Than Print, with Dante's The Divine Comedy having an example with Malacoda and the Malebranche: the Malebranche salute Malacoda by something like Blowing a Raspberry, and he responds 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.
  • Discworld:
    • When Detritus the troll first joins the Night Watch in Men at Arms, 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 Pyramids, the official salute of the Assassins' Guild is to raise the right hand, place the first two fingers against the thumb, and rub them together. The defining quality of the Guild isn't that they kill people, it's the anticipation of payment.
  • 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.
  • 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 three finger salute has transcended into reality, as people in Thailand are now using it to protest against the country's military government.
    • This is similar to the American Girl Scout salute, where you hold up three fingers. While it can be performed with either hand, it is usually displayed on the left for both practical and symbolic reasons. As Panem is supposed to be a future America, this makes some sense.
  • The Goosebumps book Ghost Camp has a truly bizarre one for Camp Spirit Moon. The camper is supposed to say "Yohhhhhhhh, Spirits!" And then he or she would give off a left-handed salute, place the hand on the nose, and swing it straight up in the air. Main character Harry finds this to be quite a funny greeting.
  • The Tribe in the Warrior Cats series has a greeting gesture which the Clan cats find strange: extending a paw while bowing the head. (Of course, they find most things about the Tribe to be strange, from their table manners to their naming conventions.)
  • 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.
  • The Canim from the Codex Alera salute by tilting their head to the side and baring their throat; they don't react well to human forms of showing respect such as bowing, because a Cane who bows is about to charge and they interpret the gesture as a threat.
  • In Time Enough for Love Lazarus Long has journeyed back in time to the First World War and has been forced by social pressure to join the American army. Since he is obviously an experienced soldier, to avoid getting sent to the trenches in France he encourages the rumour that he is a deserter from the French Foreign Legion by occasionally "accidentally" giving the French palm-outward-facing salute instead of the American hand-down one.
  • Much like the Canim, the titular sabertooths of The Book of the Named greet their social superiors by tilting their heads back to show their throats.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
    • The best known is probably the Vulcan salute — pictured above — which is also based on a Jewish blessing gesture.
    • Then there's the Romulan salute, based on the Roman salute, as you may have guessed from the name.
    • The Mirror Universe's Terran Empire salute is functionally identical to the Romulan salute, except that you hit your chest right above your heart beforehand.
    • When a Qowat Milat (a Romulan warrior nun) greets others or swears an oath, she places her palms together in front of her heart and then opens them to whomever she's talking to.
  • Occupants of The Village in The Prisoner (1967) 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 place both fists on their chests 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 "Full Rimmer" is joined by the "Double Rimmer," done with both hands simultaneously, and the "Half 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.
    • When Rimmer reveals he was in the Space Scouts, he makes a series of curious gestures (fingers form circles over eyes like glasses, then on lip like a moustache, then put in ears and twisted) while reciting "Blinkle, squirmy, blee-bloo-blah". Presumably, this is the Space Scouts salute.
  • 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.
    • The High Commander's salute winds up being a plot point in "Frankie Goes to Rutherford," in which a student of Mary's tells Dick about "places for... people like us" and accompanies Dick to one such establishment. Dick mistakes the "Vogue" dance for the High Commander's salute and enthusiastically joins in, leading to a rather heated exchange with Mary, who assumes he's been secretly gay and leading her on all along.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Paradise Towers", the caretakers salute by holding up their hand horizontally under their nose in the British playground "put your finger under your nose like a moustache to allude to Adolf Hitler" gesture. The Kangs have an elaborate "how-de-do" salute which looks like a tribute to the dance routine from Adam Ant's "Prince Charming" video.
    • In "Inferno", the fascist army of an alternate-history UK had a salute sort of like the Vulcan one, but without the split fingers. This is actually the gesture that Adolf Hitler himself often personally used to return others' Nazi salutes.
    • 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.
    • Partially subverted with the Daleks themselves, whose simplistic arm assemblies (a front-facing, telescoping rod with only a single ball-and-socket joint at the shoulder) leave the possibilities for salutes somewhat limited. In their earliest appearances, they raised and extended their arms in an ominously familiar way, though this salute was abandoned almost immediately after The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Whether this decision was made because the network thought it was insensitive or just because it was slathering on the Space Nazi subtext a little too thick is anyone's guess. Played straight in later appearances, where the Daleks salute by raising and/or "nodding" their eyetstalks.
  • 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.
    • Choujin Sentai Jetman, had Ryu/Red Hawk, the only military officer of the Jetmen (the others were all civilians who got their powers accidentally thanks to an exploding space station) would often do a straight, two-fingered salute of sorts whenever activating big attacks with the mecha, most often the Jet Phoenix and the Tetra Buster.
    • Some of the Sentai/Ranger teams also tend to give thumbs up or down in some fashion (SPD/Dekaranger included); the Magiranger/Mystic Force used finger snaps, and the Galaxy Rangers/Gingaman used a gun-esque, two finger hand gesture (also used by SPD/Dekaranger). The GoGoV/Lightspeed teams used a standard military/rescue salute, though; the Ohranger/Zeo teams used a variant on that (up in the air).
  • 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.
  • The Army Game: When Dooley joins Hut 29, Flogger attempts to convince him that he is a special rank of 'Corporal-Captain', and that Dooley needs to give him a special salute that includes patting his head and waving his hand in front of his face. Dooley adopts the new salute, but is actually playing along for a joke of his own. By the end of the episode, several other servicemen are doing it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • 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. used as a crossing-fingers gesture.

  • At the end of Hadestown's "Why We Build the Wall," the Workers, Fates, and Eurydice raise their right index fingers high in salute to Hades and the wall.

    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed, 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.
  • 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.
  • Command & Conquer: 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.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • 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 one: 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. The salute was later revealed to be the result of a Stable Time Loop where one of the founders of the Balamb Garden saw one of the main character doing it.
    • 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.
    • Final Fantasy X: The prayer of the Yevon religion is, to Tidus' surprise, 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.
    • Final Fantasy XIII: The Sanctum military salute involves holding the right arm straight outward with the palm down Caesar-style, then turning the arm horizontally across the chest in a Zogist salute. This looks very much like a Nazi salute with the steps executed in reverse order, making it extremely disconcerting when Lightning does it.
    • Two of the Grand Companies in Final Fantasy XIV have a unique salute: members of the Immortal Flames put their left fist over their heart, while members of the Order of the Twin Adder put one arm over the other in front of them and bow their head. The Maelstrom averts this trope in favor of a traditional Military Salute. The Garlean Empire have their own "hand over heart" salute (Similar to the Attack on Titan example above), and the new Crystal Braves have their own unique salute, with your right arm bent 90 degrees pointing upward.
  • Guild Wars 2: The Seraph Guard salute is right fist to the left shoulder, holding the right forearm as close to horizontal as the animation will allow.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In NieR: Automata, the YoRHa androids salute by placing their left hand up to their left pectoral, palm in.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the X-Nauts salute by crossing their arms in an X over their chests.
  • Pokémon: Starting from Generation VI onward, it's become tradition for the grunts of the local evil team to do some team-themed gesture at the start of battles:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Star Wars: 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.
  • Super Smash Bros.: Show Me Your Moves! is Captain Falcon's taunt phrase accompanied by the salute.
  • 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.
  • The 12 playable races in World of Warcraft each have their own unique salute.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: The nation of Keves salutes with one arm vertical, fist at chest height. The nation of Agnus is similar, but at an angle, with the fist held over the chest. The difference is likely a reference to the fact that the Agnian queen has a core crystal in her chest.

  • Unsounded: In the nation of Alderode, the standard salute is to touch the middle and ring fingers to the forehead, palm towards the face. The most formal version, used as Due to the Dead or as a gesture of sincere humility and deference, is to cover the face with the whole hand and bow deeply.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • Sunfire Elves of The Dragon Prince bow while crossing their hands in front of their face, palms turned inward and fingers extended to create a stylized sunburst.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy, the Urban Rangers have a salute that's basically the loser gesture – extend forefinger and thumb like you're making a "gun" gesture, then put your hand to your head, palm facing out and forefinger pointing upward.
  • Futurama:
    • The DOOP 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.
  • In Steven Universe, Homeworld Gems salute their leaders, and the Diamonds in particular, by crossing their arms over their chest, hands bent back to form a partial diamond shape.
  • In Mixels, the Nixels (at least the minions) are given a salute that starts as a standard hand-on-forehead one, but then is blowing a kiss, and waving off. So far, it has only been shown in "A Quest for the Lost Mixamajig".

    Real Life 
  • In Imperial China, Chinese military officers and martial arts practitioners salute each other in the now-famous fist-in-palm salute. The fist means the strength and courage of the wielder, while the palm symbolizes the wisdom and temperance that controls said strength.
    • This follows protocol, however. It's not always your right hand that forms the fist. If you're left handed, then that hand becomes the fist, as it is where your strength is focused.
    • Corollary, if you're saluting with a weapon, ensure that your palm covers the hand that holds the weapon, as shown here. This retains the "wisdom controlling strength" message of the salute
  • Using the actual British military salute in an American drama, or vice-versa, can essentially function as an example of this trope in terms of exotic-ness. While both salutes are identical in function, the palm is turned outward in a British salute, whereas in an American salute the palm is turned downward and slightly towards the body. The British Army version is described as being "Longest way up, shortest way down" - to whit, your saluting hand describes a wide arc to the side of your body, until it curves in to the palm-out-at-the-forehead position, then the hand is snapped straight downwards when the salute is acknowledged by the recipient. Actual Army men were so offended by John Levene botching this, in his first appearance as Corporal Benton in Doctor Who, that they sent the producers a letter demanding he be turned over to them for training so he could get it right in future.note 
    • And in the Royal Navy, just turn the palm inward! This is an old tradition from the days of sail, where sailors would hide their tar-stained hands from an officer when they saluted.
    • Stephen Colbert infuriated knowledgeable fans when he accidentally used the British variant on screen. Although he claims not to read the forums ("they scare me") he has always used the proper American salute since.
  • Due to its visible similarity to the Nazi salute (as both were derived from the Roman salute), the Bellamy salute was dropped from the United States flag code during World War II, replaced with the now familiar hand-on-heart salute.
  • During The Vietnam War, an Australian Colonel was assigned to a U.S. Marine unit. Apparently every time he walked through the camp, Marines would purposely cross his path to make him salute in the Aussie fashion (same as the British one above — Palm forward, arm rotates out sideways and up, then snaps straight down).
  • The French military salute with palms facing out, almost flat against the brow. In the old days, Foreign Legion hardcases would have insulting or obscene things tattooed on the blade of their hands, so they'd automatically insult any officer they saluted.
  • The Polish army has a very specific two-finger salute, one very similar to the one used by the Scouts, which was so exotic to some foreign officers during WW2, that they had some of the troops arrested, thinking they were being mocked.
    • According to a story that circulates Polish Internet, this is because, during the November Uprising, a messenger saluted his superior officer with a hand still bleeding from a shrapnel that tore off three of his fingers. Then he died, but only after handing in his bag. The salute commemorates the man's badassery.
  • The "Devil horns" heavy metal salute. Extend index and pinky fingers, fold thumb over middle and ring fingers. Can be displayed in either direction. There is also a variation that combines this with the crossed arms across the chest. It has another form where one extends only the pinkies on both hands and places both fists together.
    • Known to Discworld readers as the "Holy Horns of Om", Om being the god honoured by the salute. Serves roughly the same purpose as a Christian crossing himself.
    • Similarly used as the symbol of the winter god Ulric in Warhammer.
    • Also seen as the "Hook 'Em Horns" of the University of Texas (Pres. George W. Bush flashed them at a game, causing some people who didn't recognize the salute to think he was flashing Satan/gang signs).
    • According to the satirical movie that accompanies a segment in the Blue Man Group's concert, it's a tribute to Floppy the Banjo-Playing Clown, whose history and influence on rock and roll they go into. The two fingers represent his hairdo.
    • And also seen as an extremely insulting Italian (or maybe pan-European?) gesture called the cornuto, meaning "cuckold." The UT marching band went on tour once, and almost caused an incident.
  • The "Vanilla Ice" salute (though he likely didn't invent it), which is the exact opposite of the "Devil Horns"; i.e. the middle and ring fingers are extended while the index and pinky fingers are curled. This is almost identical to Dane Cook's Superfinger, a Strange Obscene Gesture.
  • The salute described above for The Prisoner was originally known as the "Sign of the Fish", and was used by early Christians in the Roman Empire (before it converted, naturally) as a means of identifying one another.
  • The Young Pioneers in U.S.S.R. saluted by raising an inclined arm in front of their forehead (as if they tried to cover their eyes from sun but with an outstretched hand).
  • Competitive marching bands and drum corps normally have elaborate salutes given by the drum major/field commander at the start of the performance to signal the band's readiness to begin. These usually, but not always, include an American military-style hand to the forehead in the midst of some complicated arm movements. Some bands devise a new salute each year that goes with the theme of their show, while others, especially world-class drum corps such as the Cavaliers, have an iconic salute used every year.
    Announcer: Field Commander [name], is your band ready? *salute* [Name of band], you may take the field in competition.
  • The Scout salute - cover the tip of your little finger with your thumb as if you're about to flick something with it, extend the other three fingers and raise your hand until they're vertical. Easier to describe than to do.
  • Wolf Cubs (the forerunners of today's Cub Scouts) had a salute that resembled a V-for-Victory sign held to the temple. There was even an occasional two-handed version. It was supposed to represent a wolf's ears.
  • Gag salutes designed by soldiers for the various units of the military. The "tanker salute" involves twisting your hand up close to your body (as if squeezing it through a turret hatch), then the same in reverse. The "paratrooper salute" is made normally, but the hand is then lowered by forming a downward-facing cup which slowly drifts down to waist level. Engineers prop their palm beside their head and 'hammer' it in place with the other hand.


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Alternative Title(s): Exotic Salute, Fictional Salute


Rimmer's Extra-Long Salute

Rimmer has a special salute that he uses for the higher-ups of Red Dwarf, which goes on for a particular while.

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5 (2 votes)

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Main / StrangeSalute

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