Definition of gesture in US English:

gesture

noun

  • 1A movement of part of the body, especially a hand or the head, to express an idea or meaning.

    ‘Alex made a gesture of apology’
    ‘so much is conveyed by gesture’
    • ‘So what do their expressions, hand gestures, body movements and speech say about what they're really thinking and feeling?’
    • ‘He closed his blue eyes and spread his hands out in a gesture of surrender.’
    • ‘Will sighed and turned around slowly, holding his hands up in a gesture of surrender.’
    • ‘His gestures and movements are excessively self-aware in postures of cool and defiance, and for this very reason betray the emotions and vulnerability beneath.’
    • ‘His body language and facial gestures suggested he loathed his colleague.’
    • ‘It has to do with attitude or spirit, which is reflected in speech patterns and facial expressions, hand gestures and overall body movement.’
    • ‘It is important that a dancer have a good facility, but they need to be able convey dramatic ideas, use dramatic gestures, and communicate feelings on stage.’
    • ‘Those quick hand gestures and body movements betray a restless energy and a need for variety and originality.’
    • ‘He made a number of rude gestures in their direction and shouted obscenities at them.’
    • ‘As they approached the lower window, Tracy made a gesture to Erin to move to the side away from the window.’
    • ‘Glaring after the departing man, Cael flicked a rude gesture in his direction.’
    • ‘These same gestures and movements, even the very words themselves, have been repeated and revived over many generations in that precise place.’
    • ‘Marcus reciprocated the farewell gesture by slightly nodding his head and slowly blinking his large, intelligent eyes.’
    • ‘His movements and gestures are natural and his stage presence is electric.’
    • ‘She exclaimed, making shooing gestures with her arms.’
    • ‘Chimps communicate with each other through a complex and subtle system of vocalisations, facial expressions, body postures and gestures.’
    • ‘Her transformation from spectator to spectacle is signified repetitively by the gesture of removing her glasses.’
    • ‘The two boys exchange ideas through gestures, words, and drawing.’
    • ‘They capture the gestures of the human body in all its pity and rapture, pain and pleasure.’
    • ‘This is accompanied by a thumbs-up gesture which is a simple but effective way of getting the children to respond to and interact with the teacher.’
    signal, signalling, sign, signing, motion, motioning, wave, indication, gesticulation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An action performed to convey one's feelings or intentions.
      ‘Maggie was touched by the kind gesture’
      • ‘Theirs is a harmless daydream, an ultimately mild gesture of defiance against conformity.’
      • ‘I broke away from Andrew suddenly, in a liberating gesture of defiance.’
      • ‘In a gesture of goodwill, a 24-hour internet cafe and a finance company in Edinburgh have offered US citizens free internet access to contact their loved ones.’
      • ‘Making goodwill gestures only arouses suspicion and creates the appearance of weakness.’
      • ‘Sometimes, youngsters convey through their simple gestures what many adults can never express in a thousand words.’
      • ‘To be frank, this was the most heartening gesture of solidarity I heard.’
      • ‘She remembers other gestures of goodwill, including an Italian who took it upon himself to cook lunch for the farmer and his family while they were at church.’
      • ‘Not all public gestures of affection and loyalty need to be quite so extravagant.’
      • ‘It is refunding you the £34.31, and adding £100 as a gesture of goodwill.’
      • ‘Given her special circumstances, it says, it is prepared as a gesture of goodwill to fund the costs of the operation, which are about £10,000.’
      • ‘I just received the October issue and appreciate your kind gesture in sending us extra copies.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, their neighbor didn't appreciate the kind gesture… and she sued.’
      • ‘Security Ministry officials called it a gesture of national reconciliation and said that more releases would follow.’
      • ‘He accepted the book and kissed it, using an Eastern gesture of respect toward the givers.’
      • ‘My friendly gestures were returned with stubborn silence.’
      • ‘Moreover, we appreciate the magnanimous gesture of the Minister of Sports for apologising in the larger interest of cricket.’
      • ‘As a goodwill gesture, I took several sports writers out for a meal Thursday.’
      • ‘Their acceptance of Lydia is total and is signified by a gesture of affection from his mother.’
      • ‘They were engaged in work, play activities, fights or gestures of friendship.’
      • ‘Throwing the amp in the canal could be a symbolic gesture, representing the idea that I was getting rid of all the stuff I didn't really need anymore.’
      action, deed, act, move
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    2. 1.2 An action performed for show in the knowledge that it will have no effect.
      ‘I hope the amendment will not be just a gesture’
      • ‘At first he still enjoyed the sheen of effective public gestures.’
      • ‘Although some have not fully embraced open source, these sometimes small, token gestures offer us a wealth of knowledge.’
      • ‘Most of the time, it will merely be a gesture of principle, with no practical effect.’
      • ‘Labor's intention to retain the regional council structures and consult Indigenous people over the replacement body is a gesture.’
      • ‘However, the seeming pointlessness of the gesture is the key to its ironic effect and the reason why it enjoys a kinship with Ferry's work.’
      • ‘There was no indication that these paltry and tardy gestures have had any effect in dampening the mass protest movement.’
      • ‘He denied the move was a political gesture.’
      • ‘He said local roads in the area would have to be improved and upgraded as a gesture to the people who would be effected.’
      • ‘Above all a political gesture and propaganda exercise, the charter had less effect on American isolationists than hoped.’
      • ‘I must admit that I agonised a bit about this because I felt it was a small gesture that would have little effect and give more pleasure to the person sending the card than the recipient.’
      • ‘A Department of Justice spokesperson rejected suggestions the move was a political gesture which would prove unrealistic when challenged.’
      • ‘That G8 leaders are now making gestures of this sort betrays their knowledge that the game is up for world summitry that does not command world support.’

verb

[no object]
  • 1Make a gesture.

    ‘she gestured meaningfully with the pistol’
    • ‘He gestured disgustedly toward Michael with one hand.’
    • ‘I couldn't find any words to say, and instead gestured helplessly.’
    • ‘Edwards, as nearly as I can tell, never utters a word without one or more hands gesturing in some significant, word-intensifying manner.’
    • ‘‘I really like your scarf’ he said, gesturing to the bandana on my head, a simple black one that I wear more often than not.’
    • ‘The big man gestured with a thumb over his shoulder.’
    • ‘Olivia gestured vaguely in the direction of the candy and Isabella took off, striding purposefully.’
    • ‘Gavin kicked her leg under the table, gesturing to their glaring father meaningfully.’
    • ‘He paused, then gestured expansively towards the audience.’
    • ‘"Take your pick, kid ", said the Major gesturing around the room.’
    • ‘The kid gestured with his left arm, the shotgun still in his right.’
    • ‘‘No need to pay,’ he said, gesturing at the tables and chairs, ‘this is my home.’’
    • ‘‘I feel completely settled here,’ she says, gesturing to the corners of the room.’
    • ‘I gestured to the pile of unopened trunks at the foot of my bed.’
    • ‘Wayne, his blurred hand gesturing with a cigarette, was looking off to the side, mouthing something.’
    • ‘Sir Ralph gestured to a nearby chair and waited until his daughter was seated.’
    • ‘He leaned forward from the back seat so he could gesture emphatically in front of the gear shift.’
    • ‘He gestured back to the door that I had just come through.’
    • ‘Then he lifted his chin, gesturing back over his shoulder.’
    • ‘He was talking about something with Dad and Jeremy, gesturing wildly with his free hand.’
    • ‘He gestured wildly with one hand as he spoke, trying to get his point across.’
    1. 1.1with object and adverbial or infinitive Direct or invite (someone) to move somewhere specified.
      ‘he gestured her to a chair’
      • ‘She gestured me towards a screened-off area behind the check-in desk.’
      • ‘He gestured his other two men to take up position behind another table.’
      • ‘Sean came to a small door, and opened it, gesturing her inside.’
      • ‘Jasmine gestured him toward the sofa, then settled across from him in the opposite chair.’
      • ‘The man returned the salute and gestured him towards the desk in the center of the room.’
      • ‘He turned to the person in the corner of the pub and gestured him over.’
      • ‘She took it out and pointed it at him and curled it to gesture him to come towards her.’
      • ‘A servant in voluminous green robes ducked her head in an abbreviated bow and gestured them into the house.’
      • ‘Paloma gestured Helen to hide herself, while she turned away and headed toward south.’
      • ‘Belarus gestured his squad forward, and began to target each of the downed drones and automated turrets.’
      • ‘Jing nodded without a single word and gestured Gloria to continue what she had to say.’
      • ‘As they moved from the bridge, they gestured us to follow.’
      • ‘She quietly took a step forward, before gesturing the class to come closer.’
      • ‘He tugged gently on her hand and gestured her back along the corridor.’
      • ‘The man stopped at one door among the many, opening it and gesturing the detective inside with a nod of his head.’
      • ‘When they both finally arrive, she gestured them to sit down beside her.’
      • ‘He walked over to his two companions, gesturing them to follow him over to the girl.’
      • ‘Flanked by the member of team A - 2, he gestured them onward with a sweep of his arm.’
      • ‘Yet when the train settles against the platform and the passengers disembark I actually find myself politely gesturing him to board ahead of me.’
      • ‘Rachelle waved her cousin away as he gestured her to the backyard, where the party was happening.’
      signal, make a gesture, make a sign, give a sign, sign, motion, wave, indicate, gesticulate
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2with object Express (something) with a gesture or gestures.
      ‘he gestured his dissent at this’
      • ‘I gestured my permission and then started to weep, remembering their occasional father.’
      • ‘It was broken up by a blooper to right by Jason Giambi, to whom Boomer gestured thanks immediately afterwards.’
      • ‘I said this, even using my hands to gesture my sincerity.’
      • ‘Jim shook his head again, gesturing his helplessness with both hands.’
      • ‘Suddenly, one of the borders raises his fingers to Gregor, gesturing his observance of the large bug in his presence.’
      • ‘I rested my right hand on her thigh and squeezed it, gesturing a thank you for calming me down.’
      • ‘After each jump, she gestured her thanks, the intensity at once gone, the smile as blazing as the grimness a moment before.’
      • ‘Then, for good measure, I also gestured gratitude in the mirror when in front of him.’
      • ‘Unable to comment on the fishing fiasco, they just gestured a weary resignation at yet another fine mess.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from medieval Latin gestura, from Latin gerere ‘bear, wield, perform’. The original sense was ‘bearing, deportment’, hence ‘the use of posture and bodily movements for effect in oratory’.

Pronunciation

gesture

/ˈdʒɛstʃər//ˈjesCHər/