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

v show, express, or direct through movement

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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