an act, instance, or gesture of assent, approval, or the like.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use thumbs-up in a sentence
By September, he was flashing a thumbs-up to assembled fans as he walked into court in a Barcelona suburb.
And I just saw him as I was leaving and gave him the thumbs-up and he mouthed, “Thank you,” and that was it.Kevin Smith's Marijuanaissance: On 'Tusk,' 'Falling Out' with Ben Affleck, and 20 Years of 'Clerks' | Marlow Stern | September 9, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
His comical antics come to an end once the guard retreats to his box after giving his fellow guardsman a thumbs-up.Hunt To Identify Pirouetting 'Bearskin' Guardsman Who Shamed Army | Tom Sykes | September 3, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Ebert gave James the proverbial two thumbs up, and the project was a go.‘Life Itself’: A Fitting, Heartrending Tribute to Cinema’s Great Appreciator Roger Ebert | Marlow Stern | July 2, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
When we nodded, she broke into a wide grin, gestured with two thumbs up, and finished off with a high-five.Going Back to Vietnam Is Sometimes Amusing, Often Fraught, and Always Surreal | Jeff Greenfield | March 9, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Mayor says thumbs up (to the breast) meant death and thumbs down meant Lower that sword.The Outline of History: Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind | Herbert George Wells
He must hold himself ever in readiness to wiggle-waggle in the perpetual Simon-says-thumbs-up game which his crowd is playing.The Behavior of Crowds | Everett Dean Martin
If he calls out simply "Thumbs up" or "Thumbs down" no attention must be paid to this order as a forfeit is taken.What Shall We Do Now?: Five Hundred Games and Pastimes | Dorothy Canfield Fisher
He is the market; he makes the price by the simple process of "thumbs up" or "thumbs down."Twenty Years a Detective in the Wickedest City in the World | Clifton R. Wooldridge
Nelda was at the wheel, and Gladys, beside her on the front seat, raised a white-gloved hand in the thumbs-up salute.Murder in the Gunroom | Henry Beam Piper
Cultural definitions for thumbs up
Expressions of approval and disapproval respectively: “The two critics disagreed about the movie; one gave it thumbs up, the other thumbs down.” In the gladiatorial contests of ancient Rome, a thumbs-up gesture from the crowd meant that the loser would live; thumbs down meant death.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with thumbs-up
An expression of approval or hopefulness, as in The town said thumbs up on building the elderly housing project. The antonym thumbs down indicates disapproval or rejection, as in Mother gave us thumbs down on serving beer at our party. Alluding to crowd signals used in Roman amphitheaters, these idioms were first recorded in English about 1600. In ancient times the meaning of the gestures was opposite that of today. Thumbs down indicated approval; thumbs up, rejection. Exactly when the reversal occurred is not known, but the present conventions were established by the early 1900s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.