Opinions on the best sign for PIZZA are as varied as
opinions on who makes the best pizza in town and what toppings are the most
The fact is there are several popular variations for this sign.
Depending on where you live a particular variation may be more popular than
other variations. If someone doesn't like your variation, do what I
do...throw some pizza crust at him or her. Um...wait, what I meant to
say is ask what variation they use. After a while you will get a
feel for what works in your area.
"Pizza? You like what kind?"
Check with your
local Deaf for the sign for "pizza" for your area.
If you are taking a class, remember this: Your local instructor gives the
grade, not me.
Here is a variation of pizza that is popular in Sacramento and
elsewhere. The sign looks as if you are shoving a piece of pizza in your
mouth. (Use a repeated movement). Personally, I don't like it because
it is a very awkward sign to produce, but many people in my area are adamant
that it is the "right" sign to use.
Let's get a side view on that so you can see the handshape better. Remember,
use a repeated movement.
PIZZA "Za!" (variation)
Another way to sign pizza (that seems to be becoming more
and more popular) is to use the "double z" + "a"
method. Make a bent "v" handshape and then draw a
"double z" in the air and end with an "a" handshape. Like
spelling "zza." My wife prefers this sign:
Here are the starting and ending handshapes:
Let's take a close look at that "double z" movement so you can see the
details. Remember to end with an "A"
Pizza ("P" variation)
is a highly recognizable sign that is easy to remember, and used widely.
You use a "P" handshape to draw a "Z" in the air.
of the index finger is pointing toward the person to whom you are signing.
(In most sign language dictionaries, unless it says or shows
otherwise, you can assume the sign points toward the watcher.)
Note: Some people might consider this to be an "English-like
Some people don't even like pizza either.
No, really, I'm serious. Come on now don't look at me like that! I'm not
making this stuff up!
PIZZA: Double Z No "A" version:
A Deaf internet user wrote:
<< "I didn't see the sign for pizza that I'm familiar with. According to
Martin Sternberg's dictionary you can sign pizza by using the double Z and
draw a Z in the air -- but it doesn't end with "A".
I use this one all the time. >>
Right on! I love the double z moving in a "z pattern" (with
no "A") version of the sign for pizza. I actually used to do
the sign that way and then certain local individuals poked fun at me. They
said it looked like I was doing the sign for SNAKE. Of course, being the
sensitive soul that I am, my feelings were hurt. I immediately stopped using
that version, and I went to the nearest local pizza joint to console myself
by eating 3/4 of a large pizza.
This is how currently I personally tend to do the sign "PIZZA."
Spell out the word p-i-z-z-a very quickly. For the
two "z" letters you
do a "double-z" movement that uses a "v" (or bent "v") handshape and
trace a "z" in the air.
I do it really fast and it takes about one-half of a second (or less) for whole sign.
In a message dated 7/28/2003 2:07:34 PM Central Daylight Time, lmurphy@______.com
Dr. Vicars, Around 1986, in Oregon, I first learned the sign for pizza as:
Red + CL "large round flat surface" (2H, L bent). My teacher was Anna Rinaldi, a Deaf woman. I believe she was from the eastern part of the U.S. Perhaps this is an old sign?
--Lynne Murphy willowbard@----------
Hi Lynne, Neat! I'd call that a
"classifier" version of the sign for PIZZA. The bent "L" hands would be good
for showing the size of a pizza.
I just looked in some of my older sign language dictionaries and would you
believe the sign for pizza isn't even listed?! So it is understandable that
instructors would use a wide variety of combinations of signs and classifiers to
express the concept.
- Dr. Bill
In a message dated 10/28/2005 3:58:30 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
Dr. Vicars (Bill)
I recently began teaching ASL I & II at the high school level. I began
learning sign some time ago (late 70s, early 80s). I took my classes at
Santa Ana College under Herb Terreri (recently retired after around 30 years...) Anyways, when I learned the sign for "pizza" I learned it as open-5 w/
crooked fingers, palm up, touching the heal of the hand to the side of
the chin (like you're eating a piece of pizza). (*) My second level students learned the "double z" way [incorrectly] which
I'd never seen (been out of touch for a bit, learning Spanish). My point is,
when they sign it, the sign looks like the sign for "snake", not the way
you demonstrate it (side-to-side). I've also seen the initialized "P"
triangled in the palm of the
I was just curious if you'd ever seen the way I learned pizza (*)?
Thank you for your time! Cynthia Kaniski (name sign..."C" like "twin")
Hello Cynthia, Is this what you are describing?
I haven't seen the method you describe. Well, I maybe, sort of, in the back of
my brain remember seeing it once. But for a second opinion I asked my wife, Belinda, and she
hasn't seen it either. (That doesn't mean it isn't an "okay" sign, it just means
it just isn't in much circulation.)
I had a hard time getting my wrist to bend like that and I reckon others
might have the same problem.
Here in Sacramento
(where I'm writing from) there is a related version that seems to be quite popular.
That version uses a
modified-bent "b" palm up near the mouth as if representing a slice of pizza.
The "b" is actually upside down, with the fingers pointing toward your mouth. To
make it work you have to turn your wrist at a bit of a weird angle, thus the
sign is somewhat awkward. I'll see if I can do a picture of it and post it
within a day or two to my "pizza" page. I know what you mean about students "mis-learning"
the double-z version of the sign. Like you, I noticed a few students
were signing "snake" instead of pizza. That simply won't do. Bill
Wow! That looked great! The picture you showed asking if that's what I meant
was exact! It may be an old sign, my twin sister signs it the same way. We
started learning sign ages ago, and took college level sign classes in the
Thanks so much for your help!...
In a message dated 7/13/2016 8:53:27 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, chransberry
I was reading the dictionary entry for "pizza", and noticed, that among all
the variations, the one I learned from my ASL teacher (a Deaf lady) in
Oregon isn't there! It was a motion like a palm-up 5 hand, but with the
fingers angled slightly upward, held upward and to the side with a quick
twist - like throwing pizza dough in the air :-). I wonder how many
variations there really are? lol
Awesome site, by the way :-)
Ha! That's a great addition to my list!