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1. a sign of approval. It was a thumbs up on the new filtration plant at Thursday's village board meeting. There was no thumbs up for the mayor as she faced certain defeat in today's balloting.
2. approving; positive. The new filtration plant got a thumbs-up decision at the board meeting. A thumbs-up vote assured another three years of financial assistance.
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.
thumbs up (or down)an indication of satisfaction or approval (or of rejection or failure). informal
The thumbs were used to signal approval or disapproval by spectators at a Roman amphitheatre, though they used ‘thumbs down’ to signify that a beaten gladiator had performed well and should be spared, and ‘thumbs up’ to call for his death.
(give somebody/something/get) the thumbs ˈup/ˈdownused to show that something has been accepted/rejected or that it is/is not a success: I asked him whether I could borrow the car, and he gave me the thumbs up. ♢ I’m afraid it’s thumbs down for your new proposal — the boss doesn’t like it. ♢ We’ve got the thumbs up for the new swimming pool.In contests in ancient Rome the public put their thumbs up if they wanted a gladiator to live, and down if they wanted him to be killed.
1. n. a sign of approval. It was a thumbs up on the new filtration plant at Thursday’s village board meeting.
2. mod. approving; positive. The new filtration plant got a thumbs up decision at the board meeting.