Definition of thumbs up or down in English:

thumbs up (or down)

informal An indication of satisfaction or approval (or of rejection or failure): plans to build a house on the site have been given the thumbs down by the Department of the Environment
[with reference to the signal of approval or disapproval used by spectators at a Roman amphitheatre; the sense has been reversed, as the Romans used ‘thumbs down’ to signify that a beaten gladiator had performed well and should be spared, and ‘thumbs up’ to call for his death]
More example sentences
  • Many watching the march demonstrated their approval by giving a thumbs up or by clapping.
  • It would be a pity that this event would not be celebrated and the thumbs up sign has already given it the green light.
  • I made my challenge and he accepted it with his version of a thumbs up.
Synonyms
rejection, refusal, veto, no, negation, rebuff, disapproval, turning down, turndown, non-acceptance, declining, dismissal, spurning, cold shoulder, cold-shouldering, snub, snubbing
informal red light, knock-back, kick in the teeth, smack in the face/eye
approval, seal of approval, approbation, endorsement, welcome, encouragement;
informal go-ahead, the OK, green light, say-so
rare permit
See parent entry: thumb

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Word of the day retroflex
Pronunciation: ˈrɛtrə(ʊ)flɛks
adjective
turned backwards