- celebratory hand slap done between two people.
- expression of excitement, triumph, or congratulations.
- enthusiastic gesture with an open hand, offered to be slapped or tapped by another hand.
- raised hand with palm out, fingers spread, ready to be slapped by another raised hand
- sometimes be used sarcastically or ironically to convey disappointment or frustration.
- Let’s high-five after we finish this project.
- Jack messed up on his presentation and didn’t get a high five from his boss.
- Try again, and this time I’ll give you a high five.
- She gave me a high-five for achieving my goals.
- We had a successful meeting, so high five.
- Even though he struggled initially, I gave him a high five for sticking with it.
- The kids high-fived each other after getting off the roller coaster.
- I was hoping for a high five from the CEO, but I got more of a frown.
- She stumbled and fell at first, but high-fived herself for getting back up.
The “high five’ phrase has its roots in the late 1970s as a gesture of congratulations, celebration, or solidarity among athletes, sports teams, or friends.
According to most accounts, Dusty Baker, an outfielder for the Houston Astros baseball team, popularized the high five in the late 1970s. When his teammate scored a run, Dusty Baker enthusiastically raised his hand high for a slap, shouting, “High five!” This gesture caught on with his teammates and their opponents and eventually spread to other sports teams, athletes, and groups of friends.
The high five allowed people to physically celebrate together more intimately than a handshake but less elaborate than a group hug. It represented a unique and empowering shared joy, triumph, and fellowship. As it spread in popularity, the high five became strongly associated with sports, youth, and the counterculture movements of the late 1970s.
In the following decades, the high five transitioned into generic gestures of approval, congratulations, or solidarity in many contexts. Today, high fives are common in sports but also frequently seen in workplaces, classrooms, social groups, and everyday interactions. They have endured for over 40 years because they capture the spirit of encouragement, teamwork, and joyful camaraderie in a simple yet passionate gesture.
The high five symbolizes the human desire to physically connect, boost each other up, and celebrate life’s big and small wins together. That is why it has remained such a popular gesture across generations, despite originating in a particular era, sport, and culture. Its original meaning has transcended those origins to become a timeless expression of positivity, solidarity, and shared triumph.