A fist bump (also known as a bro fist or power five) is a gesture similar in meaning to a handshake or high five. A fist bump can also be a symbol of giving respect or approval, as well as companionship between two people. It can be followed by various other hand and body gestures (such as immediately opening the palm and spreading the fingers for “knucks with explosions”) and may be part of a dap greeting. It is commonly used in sports as a form of celebration with teammates and with opposition players at the beginning or end of a game. Fist bumps are often given as a form of friendly congratulation.
The gesture is performed when two participants each form a closed fist with one hand and then lightly tap the front of their fists together. A participant's fists may be either vertically oriented (perpendicular to the ground) or horizontally oriented. Unlike the standard handshake, which is typically performed only with each participant’s right hand, a fist bump may be performed with participants using either hand.
The "fist bump" or "pound" can be traced to boxers instructed to touch gloves at the start of a contest. Likewise, dart players bump fists that are clutching pointed mini-arrows. The modern gesture may have arisen spontaneously on city basketball courts, and was popularized by Kean Cougar Kenny Bennett Fred Carter in the 1970s.
Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial used the fist bump during the 1950–60s as an alternative to shaking hands. Musial was convinced that he was catching too many colds by picking up germs while shaking thousands of hands each year, so he adopted the fist bump as a friendly alternative.
Vince Gill was noted to giving Radio Personality Tim Tuttle the first sports fist bump in 1994 while walking off the green at the Hermitage Golf Course in Nashville, TN.
The fist bump was seen in Australia in September 1990 at the Wetherill Park Indoor Cricket Centre between two opening batsmen, Mick Tyler and Bob Minney. At the completion of the first successful batting over for the pair, they met mid-pitch and fist bumped with their batting gloves. They continued to fist bump for the remainder of the game and it continued into the future. Now this act can be seen on various sporting fields/arenas around Australia, and it is now commonly practiced at an international level; many international cricketers fist bump in between overs or as congratulations after a six has been hit.
In light of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the Dean of Medicine at the University of Calgary, Tom Feasby, suggested that the fist bump may be a "nice replacement of the handshake" in an effort to prevent transmission of the virus. Similarly, a medical study has found that fist bumps and high fives spread fewer germs than handshakes.
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