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Throat-Slitting Gesture

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Just another day of being told the consequences for disobedience!

Otto: And once the vicious one realizes he has no further use for an old, blind troll...I— Well...[does the throat-slitting gesture]
Dictatious: ...well, what? You know I can't see.
Otto: Oh. I moves my thumb across my throat. It is, as we say, a killing motion.

A common, non-verbal way to threaten someone with death in fiction to slide your index finger or your thumb against your throat to simulate a beheading or a Slashed Throat, sometimes with a vocalized "Kccch!" sound. Usually, the one being threatened will clutch his neck in fear.

Alternatively, this gesture is used to tell someone to "Shut up" or "Cut it out". In video broadcasts, it is used by those in front of the camera to tell the cameraman or programmers to cut away from the chaos going on before them. In diving, the gesture is used to indicate that the signaler is out of air and needs to use another diver's spare valve right away.

A subtrope of Implied Death Threat. See also Slashed Throat and Off with His Head!.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Late in Death Note, Misa Amane and her romantic rival Kiyomi Takada have dinner together, and end up making passive-aggressive remarks toward each other out of jealousy over the guy they both like, Light Yagami. Misa eventually suggests that if Kira(aka Light) is caught, then Kiyomi will be given the death penalty, doing a throat slicing gesture in the anime(in the manga, she instead does finger guns).
  • Sk8 the Infinity: In the first episode, Shadow taunts Reki with this before their beef.

    Asian Animation 
  • Lamput: In "Basketball", Fat Doc makes this gesture at Mr. Moustache and his friend to say "you're going down" when Mr. Moustache challenges them to a basketball match.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: When the Genie explains to Aladdin that he can't kill anyone, he does the gesture, causing his head to come off.
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven: Carface makes the gesture when reminding Killer to take Charlie out back for his "big surprise".
    Killer: Surprise? What surprise, boss?
    Carface: The big... surprise.
  • The Bad Guys (2022): When describing to Mr. Wolf (who is currently disguised as Mr. Poodleton) what it will be like when The Bad Guys are captured, Dianne Foxington affectionately slides her hand in front of her neck.
    Dianne: Next they're gonna make it personal. That's when you know they're toast!
  • Cinderella: When the King gives the Grand Duke the task of making sure Cinderella doesn't leave the ball before the Prince has proposed to her, he uses this gesture to indicate the price of failure.
  • The Emperor's New Groove: Kronk makes this gesture to warn Yzma that her drink has poison in it.
  • FernGully: The Last Rainforest: Hexus makes the gesture as he's about to attack FernGully with the Leveler. Since he's made of smoke, he actually cuts his "throat" and then regenerates it.
  • In Happy Heroes: The Movie, Big M. gives Little M. a silent throat-slitting gesture to signal to him that they need to get rid of Careless S., who is looking for Sweet S. just like they are. They attempt to hit him unconscious, to no avail.
  • The Lion King (1994): Scar makes the gesture during the "Be Prepared" number when he tells the hyenas to "take certain duties on board", i.e. help him with murdering Mufasa.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks: Adagio Dazzle does the gesture to Sonata Dusk when she almost reveals the Dazzlings' true intentions to Sunset Shimmer.
  • Peter Pan: Smee makes the gesture while asking Captain Hook, "Wouldn't it be more humane-like to slit [Pan's] throat?" He also does it when telling the Captain that "Tink tried to do [Wendy] in, she did."
  • Pinocchio: When the Coachman offers Honest John and Gideon a large sum for a job:
    Honest John: And, uh, who do we have to... Kccch!
    Coachman: No, no, nothing like that.
  • The Rescuers Down Under: McLeach catches Cody with one of Marahute's feathers and asks where he found it. When Cody refuses, McLeach pulls out a similar feather and mimes slashing his throat with it to indicate that he shot down Marahute's mate.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Cat in the Hat: During the cooking show, Host!Cat uses the "Cut the feed" variation when Chef!Cat chops part of his tail off and shouts "SON OF A B***!"
  • The Death of Stalin: As Khrushchev and his wife are going over the former's notes from last night (seeing which jokes were considered funny by Stalin and which weren't), she finds one that simply says "Molotov chhh". After some effort, Khrushchev remembers it means "Molotov *khhhhk*", as he's on the list for execution.
  • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, an amusement park ride operator makes this gesture while telling Greg and Rowley to be safe on the ride they're about to go on.
  • Galaxy Quest: Jason gives this gesture to Gwen while they're talking with Sarris as a sign to close their channel so they can plot against him. Unfortunately, she misinterprets this as him telling her they're doomed and leaves the channel open so Sarris can hear them plotting against him. Plus she has no clue how to activate the "hold button" even if she wanted to.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Drax, being Literal-Minded, is extremely confused the first time he encounters this:
    Star-Lord: She betrayed Ronan. He's coming back for her. And when he does, that's when you... [draws finger across his throat]
    Drax: ...Why would I put my finger on his throat?
    Star-Lord: What? Oh, no, it's a symbol. This is a symbol for you slicing his throat.
    Drax: I would not slice his throat. I would cut his head clean off.
  • In The Hunt for Red October, Melekhin uses this gesture to signal his people to shut down the malfunctioning caterpillar drive.
  • Just One of the Guys: As Rick's attempts to ask out a girl named Betty get more cringeworthy, Terry makes a throat-slitting gesture to urge him to abandon the conversation.
  • In Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz, a Soviet commando team is preparing to ambush a German convoy. Their commander Dolokhov is sending Hand Signals to his men.
    (Dolokhov raises a clenched fist, then three fingers)
    "Three light vehicles...(opens and closes his hand three times) fifteen men..."
    (Dolokhov draws hand across his throat)
    "Kill them all."
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark: When Indiana Jones escapes from Belloq and the Hovitos warriors, Belloq makes a back-and-forth throat slitting gesture to the Hovitos as an order to kill Jones.
  • Schindler's List: When a cattle truck carrying women is passing by a boy on its way to an extermination camp, you can see him make this scary gesture indicating that they would be doomed.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard (and sometimes Commander Riker) will use this gesture to order communication with another ship/planet terminated.
  • Family Feud: On the Steve Harvey version, opponents of families with two strikes are occasionally seen doing this.
  • Under the Banner of Heaven: Per Mormon tradition, Brenda and Allen's wedding is preceded by an endowment ceremony. A throat slitting gesture is part of the endowment, symbolizing that they'd sooner die than betray the secrecy of the temple. This particular oath was removed from LDS practice in 1990, but it would've been part of Brenda and Allen's wedding in the early 80s.
    Temple Worker: Names, signs, and penalties, which you will receive in the temple this day, are most sacred, and are guarded by solemn covenants and obligations of secrecy, to the effect that under no condition, even at the peril of your life, will you ever divulge them. (He gestures for them to stand up and leads them in Throat-Slitting Gesture.)

  • In Michael Jackson's video for "Remember the Time", when the Queen is unsatisfied with the fire eater's performance, she calls for him to be beheaded by silently moving her finger across her throat.

    Pro Wrestling 

  • American football leagues (high school, collegiate and professional) have banned the "throat slash" gesture. Players seen doing it are penalized for taunting/unsportsmanlike conduct.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BECMI Immortals rules module IM3 The Best of Intentions. A picture of the jury that will decide the fate of the Immortal criminals shows one of them making a throat-slitting gesture as a warning of the fate of the accused.

    Video Games 
  • In Civilization, Kupe of the Maori performed the Haka and ends with a Throat Slit gesture + tongue out for intimidation. When he sees the player is evil.
  • Cuphead: In one trailer, the Devil threatens Cuphead and Mugman, who are begging for mercy, with this gesture. For extra creepiness, the Devil's shadow has his hand shaped like a blade, cutting off the heads of their shadows.
  • Dark Souls II has the decapitation gesture, in which you point toward your opponent, do a throat slash and end with a thumb down. You can learn the gesture from Vengarl of Forossa, a still-living decapitated head.
  • In Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Yuffie does this gesture when talking about mission to assassinate Rufus Shinra.
    Yuffie: So when the president steps out... (makes her hand into a palm and does a quick motion across from her throat with a "swoosh" sound effect)
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Tommy Vercetti does this after the final battle describing how him killing Sonny Forelli leaves him and Ken Rosenberg free to run their criminal empire how they want.
      Tommy: I don't think we're going to get any heat from up north either...
      ...cause their ain't no up north anymore. It's all down south now.
    • In Grand Theft Auto IV, when meeting with Manny and his cameraman Jay for the second time, Niko tells the latter to stop filming him as he makes this gesture with his index finger. Jay, not wanting Niko to break his camera like last time, complies.
  • Guilty Gear: This acts as one of Sol Badguy's taunts, where he draws his thumb across his throat and ending it with a thumb down sign.
  • In LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game, during Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, as the minifigures are incapable of speech, Palpatine ends up doing this when commanding the Clones to carry out Order 66. This gesture is able to get the command to kill all Jedi clearly.
  • In Mario Strikers Charged, Wario does this toward the other team in his Away team entrance.
  • In Mortal Kombat 11, Kano is having this one plus sinster grin and evil laugh.
  • Overwatch: Reaper has this gesture as an emote and one of his highlight intros.
  • In Sunset Overdrive, the leader of Las Catrinas threatens the player this way if she were to harm or fail to impress the kids in the hospital.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • When taunting with a shotgun equipped, the Heavy performs this gesture after twirling the shotgun on his index finger.
    • The RED Soldier does this gesture at the BLU team during the Mac Update trailer.
  • Total War: Warhammer II: One of Nakai the Wanderer's idle animations has him point at an enemy and then draw his thumb across his throat, a gesture all the more intimidating when it's done by a three-meter-tall humanoid crocodile who can kill an adult human with a blow of his hand.
  • In Undertale, Undyne may randomly do this during her Boss Battle.

  • Homestuck: Tavros does this when he faces off against Vriska, then emphasizes it by holding up a teddy bear's severed head. Vriska makes a similar gesture, but holds up Tavros's severed lower torso instead. For context
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: Wonderella befriends a red balloon, which is then popped by a brat with a slingshot. She orders the other balloons to smother him to death with this gesture.

    Web Original 
  • CollegeHumor: In The Stinger to their parody of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe", the girl closes her curtains in horror after finding out her crush is a neo-Nazi, and he makes a throat-slitting gesture with his fist in response.
  • In the Warrior Cats Darktail Multiple Animator Project Poor Unfortunate Souls, Darktail makes this gesture to Needletail to signal he wants her to kill Violetpaw.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: In "The Vault", the leader of the Bath Boy Gang threatens Shoko with this gesture and, in case she didn't understand, says "Pretend my finger's a knife".
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Dog Spray Afternoon", Helen does this gesture to Shampagne to let him know she plans on killing him because she believes Bitsy will give him everything in her will, but Shampagne wasn't even paying attention to her, making the threat ineffective.
  • Classic Disney Shorts: In Mickey's Service Station, Pete makes the gesture when threatening Mickey, Donald and Goofy to get rid of the squeak in his car by the time he returns. When time is up, Pete's face appears on the clock and the clock hands do the gesture.
  • DuckTales (2017): In "Daytrip of Doom!", after Webby's attempt to get "water" (fruit punch) goes awry and attracts a manager, Louie does the "Cut it out" version to tell her to shut up. She nervously raises a spork, apparently having misinterpreted the gesture as him telling her to kill the manager.
  • Gravity Falls: In "Fight Fighters", Robbie threatens Dipper with this.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "Fox Pop", a fox paints himself silver and enters a fox farm after hearing a radio ad about how much women love silver foxes (not realizing that it's only for their furs). Once there, one of the other foxes tells him about a breakout and warns him about what will happen if he doesn't go with them with a throat slashing gesture. The fox thinks this means he'll get killed by the other fox, so when the breakout occurs, he stays behind, thinking he'll be safe. It's only when he sees the furrier approach with an ax that he realizes what he's gotten himself into, and does the slashing gesture on himself.
    • In "Wackiki Wabbit", Bugs puppeteers a roast chicken with strings to trick the two castaways into thinking it's come alive, and he makes the chicken threaten them with the gesture.
    • In "Golden Yeggs", Porky discovers that one of his chickens had laid a golden egg and asks which of them laid it. A goose tells the audience he did it, but is not telling because "I know what happened to the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg... krrrrch!"
    • In "(blooper) Bunny!", Bugs does the "Cut the feed" version as Daffy says "You smug son of a..."
    • In "Daffy Duck Hunt", Porky threatens the Barnyard Dawg (complete with the gesture) if Daffy isn't in the freezer box.
  • In the Rugrats episode "Angelica's Worst Nightmare," a television psychologist uses the "cut" version of this gesture when he gets a call from a man saying his brother thinks he's a goat.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the "Treehouse of Horror X" segment "I Know What You Diddily-Iddily-Did", Marge does this to shut Homer up before he blabs that she was the one who killed Flanders.
    • In the episode "The Many Saints of Springfield", Louie from the mafia uses this gesture to intimidate Homer into giving up Flanders' location, only for Louie to accidentally slit his own throat in the process due to his sharp fingernails.
  • Total Drama:
    • Beth stands up against Heather in "Paintball Deer Hunter" and as such Heather sets out to get her voted off. Thinking she's got the votes arranged, she locks eyes with Beth and drags her finger across her neck during the campfire ceremony. However, her threat is ruined when Beth receives a marshmallow at that exact moment.
    • In "Basic Straining", Duncan harasses Courtney and she openly questions why she thought he was nice. He slides his hand across his neck and makes a shushing sound while he glances at Geoff and Harold, communicating to her how important his delinquent image is to him and to not reveal an act of kindness he did earlier. Despite her annoyance, she goes along with it.
    • Heather does not believe that there's truly a serial killer running around on the island in "Hook, Line and Screamer" and goes off alone to do some personal grooming. Izzy, who is well-acquainted with horror movie clichés, declares that "the bossy, mean chick" just sealed her fate. For effect, she slides her finger across her throat while making a slurping sound.
    • The last one of the peanut gallery introduced in "Aftermath I: Trent's Descent" is Courtney, who at that time is preoccupied with a phone call with her lawyer to sue the show for not letting her be a contestant. Geoff laughs nervously and waves his fingers across his neck to get the camera off Courtney.
    • Heather threatens Leshawna and possibly Duncan too by dragging her finger across her throat in "One Flu Over the Cuckoos". She's mad at them for ditching the challenge preparations to get a good night's sleep and has her eye on Leshawna because of her friendship with Gwen.
    • Team CIRRRRH wins the challenge in "Picnic At Hanging Dork", much to Courtney's delight because it means her team gets to vote off one of their members that evening and she wants Gwen gone ever since Duncan cheated on her with the goth girl. Duncan picked the winning sheep, so when he realizes the cost and turns to look at Team Amazon, Courtney grins back, points at Gwen, and drags her finger across her throat.
  • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race: In "El Bunny Supremo", Jacques steals the Goths' Killer Rabbit, Loki, to sabotage them. When the Goths are eliminated, Loki strikes a Death Glare at Jacques and Josee while rubbing his paw across his throat, terrifying them.
  • In Trollhunters, Otto Scaarbach does this to Dictatious as he gloats on replacing him as Gunmar's right hand. Since Dictatious is blind, he has to explain that he did so.
  • In the Vampirina episode "Scare B&B", Vee does this to Boris when he almost gives away their identities to Edna Peepleson.


Video Example(s):


No More Teachers

All Iqbal gets from his openly disastrous press conference is a snarky reply from a reporter.

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