When you gesticulate, you make sweeping and excited movements with your hands when speaking. Someone describing a scary car accident might gesticulate wildly.

The verb gesticulate is related to the noun gesture. Gesture has stress on the first syllable, and gesticulate has the stress on the second syllable. Gesticulate, which comes from the Latin gesticulus meaning "to mimic," describes animated movements people make in conversation — with and without words. People who gesticulate could be said to talk with their hands!

Definitions of gesticulate
  1. verb
    show, express, or direct through movement
    synonyms: gesture, motion
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    signal by winking
    exsert, extend, hold out, put out, stretch forth, stretch out
    thrust or extend out
    raise one's shoulders to indicate indifference or resignation
    clap, spat
    clap one's hands together
    acclaim, applaud, clap, spat
    clap one's hands or shout after performances to indicate approval
    bless, sign
    make the sign of the cross over someone in order to call on God for protection; consecrate
    express or signify by nodding
    cross oneself
    make the sign of the cross; in the Catholic religion
    bow, bow down
    bend one's knee or body, or lower one's head
    shake (a body part) to communicate a greeting, feeling, or cognitive state
    beckon, wave
    signal with the hands or nod
    extend a joint beyond its normal range
    applaud with shouts of `bravo' or `brava'
    conge, congee
    perform a ceremonious bow
    type of:
    communicate, intercommunicate
    transmit thoughts or feelings
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