“A limp handshake leaves a bad impression.”

English Lesson: A limp handshake leaves a bad impression.

You're giving a friend advice on how to act in business situations in the U.S. You discuss the correct way to give a handshake and you say this.

A limp handshake leaves a bad impression.

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a limp handshake

"Limp" means "soft" and "weak". Imagine a French fry that's been left out for a few hours. It's not crispy any longer; it hangs down when you hold it and feels soft. That's the meaning of "limp".

A "limp" handshake is when someone shakes hands without enough pressure. The correct handshake is a firm handshake. This means to grab the other person's hand and squeeze it just a little bit. But some people just hold the other person's hand without squeezing. This is called a "limp" handshake, and most people don't like it.

Other examples of "limp" things include:

  • Someone's body when they're dead, asleep, or passed out.
  • Hair that's thin or oily.

The word "limp" is also used in some embarassing sexual situations. Use your imagination to figure out what that might be.

leave a bad impression

When you do things that make people think negatively about you, it's called "leaving a bad impression".

An "impression" is a quick decision that people make about you when they first meet you. People often talk about their "first impression" of a person:

My first impression is that he's a really nice guy, but perhaps a little difficult to get to know well.

The way that you act when you first meet people "leaves" an impression in their minds. If you say smart and interesting things, people will "be left with" a good impression of you. If you act rude, it will "leave" a bad impression.