Definition of kinesics in English:


plural noun

  • 1[usually treated as singular] The study of the way in which certain body movements and gestures serve as a form of non-verbal communication.

    • ‘After conducting fieldwork together in New Guinea, Bateson and Mead coproduced ethnographic films and photodocumentation of Balinese kinesics.’
    • ‘To achieve this aim in oral discourse, speakers use visual cues provided by paralanguage, kinesics and synchrony to complement verbal language.’
    • ‘This was unfortunate as it narrowed the scope of the potential field, separating kinesics from much that was of interest to mainstream anthropology.’
    • ‘Other kinds of human communication [besides speech] are sometimes called language: body language, or kinesics, is one example.’
    gesture, sign, wave, gesticulation, cue, prompt, indicator, indication, communication, message
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[usually treated as plural]Body movements and gestures regarded as a form of non-verbal communication.
      • ‘The anatomical characteristics of a person have a definite bearing on our perception of his or her kinesics.’
      • ‘Mr. O was showing and acknowledging a greater affective range, both verbally and in his kinesics.’


1950s: from Greek kinēsis motion (from kinein to move) + -ics.