Much prefer a picture is worth a thousand words, a wink deserve to have a thousand meanings. 

A ethereal wink has been making people swoon because long prior to Elvis perfected the gesture, yet winks aren’t constantly a authorize of flirtation. In fact, the an interpretation of a wink can be completely different depending on society and context. 

That arguably makes the wink the most ambiguous gesture used in communication. ;) or 😉

In this article, you’ll discover how and also why we wink, the various interpretations of a wink about the human being (flirty, fun and creepy) and also what to perform if you’re winking uncontrollably. 

Let’s get started… 

Why execute we wink?

Because the act is therefore subtle and also takes on countless meanings, the origin of winking is unknown.

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We wink to show affection, to spark a laugh, come share an inside mystery and because that so plenty of other reasons. Us wink in person, in emails and also in message messages. 

The Winking confront emoticon was authorized as component of Unicode 6.0 in 2010 and added to Emoji 1.0 in 2015, follow to Emojipedia.org (yes, that’s a thing).

How us wink (the scientific research behind the wink)

The act of winking requires contracting the orbicularis oculi muscle, i beg your pardon receives signal from the facial motor nucleus. If the connection in between these 2 hubs is also weak, then no lot of practice will pay off v a successful wink — it’s impossible.

Not everyone deserve to wink, and also some human being can wink through one eye and also not the other. 

Pop star and also overall queen Rihanna shocked the world when that was uncovered that she can not wink. 

Being able come wink with one eye however not the other is referred to as ocular dominance. 

How walk ocular supremacy differ from writing through a dominant hand or walking v a leading foot? The two space governed by different parts of the brain. Your ocular supremacy is governed by the part of the brain that controls your ar of vision.

WHEN WAS her LAST EYE EXAM? discover an eye doctor and also book one exam.

What go a wink mean?

A wink is simply a wink, lock say, however in reality that hardly ever is the case. A wink can be fun, teasing, flirty and — relying on the one doing (or receiving) the winking — unsettling. 

The an interpretation of a wink depends on the context, the surroundings and also most the all, the two human being involved. It’s a shared communication. 

A wink can be appreciated or inappropriate, depending on the circumstances, timing and also the relationship in between the human being doing the winking and also the one who is winked at.

In some cases, a wink might not it is in a wink at all, however rather a face tic or an eye twitch brought about by stress, alcohol or any variety of things.

Why is winking flirty?

There’s a factor why her heart flutters when a potential suitor sends a wink your way. 

Research shows that as soon as humans uncover something exciting or arousing, their pupils dilate and also their blinking will increase. This is the body’s an answer to the brain saying “more please” — extreme blinking and dilated pupils allow the eye to take it in an ext of what they discover pleasing and send it to the brain.


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Winking in ~ someone as a way of flirtation plays turn off of extreme blinking, since winking deliberately communicates that the vision of who is exciting to you.

But what’s thought about flirty in one nation may be seen as rude or vulgar. If you’re a people traveler, this following section is for you. Girlfriend don’t desire to send the wrong signal v your wink.

What winking method in various cultures

Cultures approximately the people have occurred their very own interpretations for the wink and, together expected, they're almost everywhere the map.     

Western society — Western culture has embraced the gesture and used the to interact everything but the kitchen wink. ;) So much so, that common phrases were created to provide context for different winking situations, prefer “nudge nudge, wink wink” to show that you and also another human are sharing an within joke, or “to catch 40 winks” to describe taking a nap.


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Western culture winks require an ext context than in various other cultures, since they have the right to mean anything indigenous flirtation or encourage to mock or malice. For instance, ~ the civil War, cadets in ~ West suggest Military Academy provided winking to aid each other cheat ~ above tests. These days, winking is offered in American sports to communicate particular instructions come teammates.

Latin America — maintaining things simple (and steamy), winking is used specifically to communicate romantic or sex-related interest.

West Africa — In Nigeria, that is a authorize of disrespect for a boy to it is in in the same room together a guest, for this reason parents will wink in ~ the kid to i disbanded them from the room when visitors are present.

India — There’s a good line because that winking in Indian culture. It’s viewed as a sly or flirtatious act when done between husband and wife or boyfriend and also girlfriend, yet as unreasonable or insulting if excellent to someone you’re no in a relationship with.

Australia — acquisition a sharp turn in meaning, winking in Australian culture is considered rude and too suggestive, especially when excellent by a man to a woman.

Asia — Winking is considered a vulgar gesture in eastern cultures so unless you’re in search of a fight, save your winks come yourself.

When a wink is no a wink, however an eye twitch

Winking isn’t constantly something the you “just do.” when stress gets the better of you, that can cause facial twitching, i m sorry can show up as unintentional binge winking (get the —“binge winking?”) ;) ;) ;) ;). 

There are natural remedies the can get rid of those symptoms. To reduce caffeine intake; practicing meditation, yoga or irradiate exercise; and also stimulating your creative thinking with reading, working on a puzzle or drawing/coloring can reduce your stress and the face twitches that accompany it.

See more: How Long Does Peach Schnapps Last, How Long Can You Keep Peach Schnapps

SEE RELATED: Eye twitching: Causes and also treatments

Winking habits in pets

All pets owners have actually been there: You’re sitting on the couch, looking at your half-asleep dog or cat, and also just as soon as you believe they can’t get an ext perfect, they slowly wink in ~ you and you think, “I don’t deserve this angel.” believe it or not, winks from pets have simply as lot intention and definition as winks from humans.

Cats When cats wink or blink in ~ you, it’s thought about the greatest compliment. Described as a “cat kiss,” winking from cats communicates the they check out you together trustworthy and also they’re comfortable in your presence. In the many nonchalant cat-like fashion, they’re letting you know they love you. The coolest component is the they translate a wink or blink the exact same way, for this reason feel cost-free to offer your cat a slow wink come send them part love. 


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Dogs — Although plenty of dog owners choose to think their pup’s wink is meant to be a cute small message, it’s actually a authorize of non-aggression. Unequal humans, dog don’t depend on face expressions come communicate, so extended eye call is perceived as aggression and a challenge of dominance. Because your dog doesn’t desire to hit you, lock wink in submission. For this reason a wink from your dog may not have to be a authorize of admiration, yet of respect, i m sorry is quiet heartwarming. 

SEE RELATED: Eye Discharge in Cats and Eye Discharge in Dogs

So have to you wink or not?

Winking in the appropriate time, the best place and also the ideal circumstances have the right to be a exorbitant thing. It might be the spark the kindles a romance. A common wink among friends is confirmation of an inside hoax or typical bond. 

But beware of sending the wrong message with her wink. A wink in ~ work may not it is in appreciated, while a wink from her pet is constantly encouraging. A wink from who on the train or bus deserve to be creepy. And also a wink in the wrong country to the wrong human can change the mood in the blink — or wink — of one eye. 

WANT come HIDE that WINK through SUNGLASSES? Shop currently for sunnies at an optical store close to you or online.