Definition of kinesics in English:


plural noun

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

    • ‘To achieve this aim in oral discourse, speakers use visual cues provided by paralanguage, kinesics and synchrony to complement verbal language.’
    • ‘After conducting fieldwork together in New Guinea, Bateson and Mead coproduced ethnographic films and photodocumentation of Balinese kinesics.’
    • ‘Other kinds of human communication [besides speech] are sometimes called language: body language, or kinesics, is one example.’
    • ‘This was unfortunate as it narrowed the scope of the potential field, separating kinesics from much that was of interest to mainstream anthropology.’
    gesture, sign, wave, gesticulation, cue, prompt, indicator, indication, communication, message
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    1. 1.1usually 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.