Finger snapping

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A video of finger snapping
Alternative snapping technique

Snapping (or clicking) one's fingers is the act of creating a snapping or clicking sound with one's fingers. Primarily this is done by building tension between the thumb and another (middle, index, or ring) finger and then moving the other finger forcefully downward, so it hits the palm of the same hand at a high speed.

A Georgia Institute of Technology study in 2021 analyzed finger snapping, and found that a given audible snap sound occurs in just seven milliseconds. For reference, the blink of an eye takes place in 150 milliseconds.[1][2]

In culture[edit]

Pan, god of nature and the wild, and a Maenad dancing. Ancient Greek red-figured olpe from Apulia, c. 320–310 BCE. Pan's right hand fingers are in a snapping position.

In Ancient Greece, snapping of fingers was used by musicians and dancers as a way to keep the rhythm[3] and it was known with the words "ἀποληκέω" (apolekeo),[4] "ἀποκρότημα" (apokrotema)[5] (from the verb "ἀποκροτέω" - apokroteo, "to snap the fingers")[6] and "ἐπίπταισμα" (epiptaisma).[7] Finger snapping is still common in modern Greece.

Finger snapping may be used as a substitute for hand clapping. A possible reason is that snapping is less disruptive than clapping during speeches and announcements."[8] The practice of finger snapping is also popular within the poetry slam community, used by the audience as a spontaneous in-the-moment show of support or agreement with what is being shared by the poet. The practice has also infiltrated some conferences.[9]

In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos snaps his fingers causing the Blip.[10]

In music[edit]

In many cultures, finger snapping is a form of body percussion.

Sounds of a fingersnap also are sampled and used in many disparate genres of music, used mostly as percussion; the works of Angelo Badalamenti exhibit this in the soundtracks to, e.g., Twin Peaks, Lost Highway, as does the theme song from the television series The Addams Family.

Persian variant[edit]

Beshkan (Persian: بشكن), also known as the "Persian snap", is a traditional Iranian finger snap requiring both hands. The snapper creates a crackling/clicking noise similar in mechanism to the normal snap but louder in practice.


There are two variations of the Persian snap. The most common of the two for a right-handed individual is as follows:[11]

  • Place hands together and rotate until the three right hand fingers are at the junction of the hand and fingers.
  • Rest the right middle finger on the left hand securely.
  • Then using the tension provided by the left thumb, snap the right index finger onto the gap between the junction and right middle finger.


  1. ^ Ouellette, Jennifer (2021-11-16). "Why Thanos couldn't have snapped his fingers while wearing the Infinity Glove". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2021-11-18.
  2. ^ Acharya, Elio; J. Challita, Mark Ilton, and M. Saad Bhamla (November 2021) [17 November 2021 (published online)]. "The Ultrafast Snap of a Finger Is Mediated by Skin Friction". Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 18 (184). doi:10.1098/rsif.2021.0672. PMID 34784775. Retrieved 20 November 2021.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Martin Litchfield West, Ancient Greek music, Oxford University Press, 199
  4. ^ ἀποληκέω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  5. ^ ἀποκρότημα, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  6. ^ ἀποκροτέω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  7. ^ ἐπίπταισμα, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  8. ^ "University of Michigan Men's Glee Club || About | History_html_5". Archived from the original on 2016-06-21. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
  9. ^ Rosman, Katherine (2015-11-21). "Why Snapping Is the New Clapping". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  10. ^ "Forget the Avengers, how fast can YOU click your fingers?". Newsround. 17 November 2021. Archived from the original on 9 March 2022. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  11. ^ "How To Beshkan, when you feel you beshkant". YouTube. 2009-04-15. Archived from the original on 2021-12-19. Retrieved 2011-12-28.