gestures; gestured; gesturing

The thing to remember about gesture, whether you're using it as a verb or a noun, is that not only is it a movement of the hands or body, but it's also a movement that has some meaning, intention, or emotion behind it.

When you use gesture, you are entering into a whole history of human communication, because there is no language that exists entirely without gesture (a fun fact to bring up at parties). People can't communicate without gesture. It's so connected to intention that there is a phrase "empty gesture," used to mean an action or movement that is without genuine feeling.

Definitions of gesture
  1. noun
    motion of hands or body to emphasize or help to express a thought or feeling
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    jab, jabbing, poke, poking, thrust, thrusting
    a sharp hand gesture (resembling a blow)
    ritual hand movement in Hindu religious dancing
    type of:
    motility, motion, move, movement
    a change of position that does not entail a change of location
  2. noun
    the use of movements (especially of the hands) to communicate familiar or prearranged signals
    synonyms: motion
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    a gesture that is part of a sign language
    a deliberate and vigorous gesture or motion
    a beckoning gesture
    facial expression, facial gesture
    a gesture executed with the facial muscles
    a showy gesture
    a gesture of greeting or elation; one person's upraised palm slaps the upraised palm of another person
    previous question
    a motion calling for an immediate vote on the main question under discussion by a deliberative assembly
    a gesture involving the shoulders
    wafture, wave, waving
    the act of signaling by a movement of the hand
    V sign
    a sign (for victory); making a V with the index and middle fingers
    a sign of assent or salutation or command
    bow, bowing, obeisance
    bending the head or body or knee as a sign of reverence or submission or shame or greeting
    sign of the cross
    a gesture with the right hand moving to form a cross; used by Catholics as a profession of faith
    curtsey, curtsy
    bending the knees; a gesture of respect made by women
    a representation of a facial expression (as a smile or frown) created by typing a sequence of characters in sending email
    an expression of openmouthed astonishment
    face, grimace
    a contorted facial expression
    frown, scowl
    a facial expression of dislike or displeasure
    grin, grinning, smile, smiling
    a facial expression characterized by turning up the corners of the mouth; usually shows pleasure or amusement
    a facial expression characteristic of a person laughing
    an angry vicious expression
    straight face
    a serious facial expression giving no evidence of interest or amusement
    closing one eye quickly as a signal
    the facial expression of sudden pain
    brandish, flourish
    the act of waving
    genuflection, genuflexion
    the act of bending the knees in worship or reverence
    kotow, kowtow
    a former Chinese custom of touching the ground with the forehead as a sign of respect or submission
    scrape, scraping
    a deep bow with the foot drawn backwards (indicating excessive humility)
    a deep bow; a Muslim form of salutation
    type of:
    visual communication
    communication that relies on vision
  3. noun
    something done as an indication of intention
    “a political gesture
    “a gesture of defiance”
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    beau geste
    a gracious (but usually meaningless) gesture
    type of:
    indicant, indication
    something that serves to indicate or suggest
  4. verb
    show, express, or direct through movement
    “He gestured his desire to leave”
    synonyms: gesticulate, 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
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘gesture'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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