History Time: The thumbs up/thumbs down gesture for approval/distaste (and which gesture means which) comes from Ancient Roman times - specifically, instructions to the gladiator on whether or not to spare his opponent. But here's the thing: the Latin term for this is Pollice verso, which translates to "turned thumb." If you consult the writings of old dead Roman people, you'll find even they contradict each other on which one is really approval and which is distaste. But, who cares: we of the present have decreed thumbs up to be good and thumbs down to be bad. And that's the model that the Like/Dislike Stamp Set perpetuates.