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’
    • ‘As they approached the lower window, Tracy made a gesture to Erin to move to the side away from the window.’
    • ‘His movements and gestures are natural and his stage presence is electric.’
    • ‘She exclaimed, making shooing gestures with her arms.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Glaring after the departing man, Cael flicked a rude gesture in his direction.’
    • ‘They capture the gestures of the human body in all its pity and rapture, pain and pleasure.’
    • ‘Will sighed and turned around slowly, holding his hands up in a gesture of surrender.’
    • ‘It has to do with attitude or spirit, which is reflected in speech patterns and facial expressions, hand gestures and overall body movement.’
    • ‘The two boys exchange ideas through gestures, words, and drawing.’
    • ‘So what do their expressions, hand gestures, body movements and speech say about what they're really thinking and feeling?’
    • ‘He made a number of rude gestures in their direction and shouted obscenities at them.’
    • ‘Those quick hand gestures and body movements betray a restless energy and a need for variety and originality.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He closed his blue eyes and spread his hands out in a gesture of surrender.’
    • ‘Her transformation from spectator to spectacle is signified repetitively by the gesture of removing her glasses.’
    • ‘His body language and facial gestures suggested he loathed his colleague.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chimps communicate with each other through a complex and subtle system of vocalisations, facial expressions, body postures and gestures.’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They were engaged in work, play activities, fights or gestures of friendship.’
      • ‘Their acceptance of Lydia is total and is signified by a gesture of affection from his mother.’
      • ‘Sometimes, youngsters convey through their simple gestures what many adults can never express in a thousand words.’
      • ‘My friendly gestures were returned with stubborn silence.’
      • ‘Making goodwill gestures only arouses suspicion and creates the appearance of weakness.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Theirs is a harmless daydream, an ultimately mild gesture of defiance against conformity.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To be frank, this was the most heartening gesture of solidarity I heard.’
      • ‘As a goodwill gesture, I took several sports writers out for a meal Thursday.’
      • ‘It is refunding you the £34.31, and adding £100 as a gesture of goodwill.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, their neighbor didn't appreciate the kind gesture… and she sued.’
      • ‘Not all public gestures of affection and loyalty need to be quite so extravagant.’
      • ‘Security Ministry officials called it a gesture of national reconciliation and said that more releases would follow.’
      • ‘Moreover, we appreciate the magnanimous gesture of the Minister of Sports for apologising in the larger interest of cricket.’
      • ‘I broke away from Andrew suddenly, in a liberating gesture of defiance.’
      • ‘I just received the October issue and appreciate your kind gesture in sending us extra copies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He accepted the book and kissed it, using an Eastern gesture of respect toward the givers.’
      action, deed, act, move
      View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Above all a political gesture and propaganda exercise, the charter had less effect on American isolationists than hoped.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Labor's intention to retain the regional council structures and consult Indigenous people over the replacement body is a gesture.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most of the time, it will merely be a gesture of principle, with no practical effect.’
      • ‘Although some have not fully embraced open source, these sometimes small, token gestures offer us a wealth of knowledge.’
      • ‘A Department of Justice spokesperson rejected suggestions the move was a political gesture which would prove unrealistic when challenged.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At first he still enjoyed the sheen of effective public gestures.’
      • ‘He said local roads in the area would have to be improved and upgraded as a gesture to the people who would be effected.’

verb

[no object]
  • 1Make a gesture.

    ‘she gestured meaningfully with the pistol’
    • ‘He leaned forward from the back seat so he could gesture emphatically in front of the gear shift.’
    • ‘He was talking about something with Dad and Jeremy, gesturing wildly with his free hand.’
    • ‘Wayne, his blurred hand gesturing with a cigarette, was looking off to the side, mouthing something.’
    • ‘Then he lifted his chin, gesturing back over his shoulder.’
    • ‘Sir Ralph gestured to a nearby chair and waited until his daughter was seated.’
    • ‘The kid gestured with his left arm, the shotgun still in his right.’
    • ‘I gestured to the pile of unopened trunks at the foot of my bed.’
    • ‘‘I feel completely settled here,’ she says, gesturing to the corners of the room.’
    • ‘He gestured wildly with one hand as he spoke, trying to get his point across.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘He gestured disgustedly toward Michael with one hand.’
    • ‘The big man gestured with a thumb over his shoulder.’
    • ‘Gavin kicked her leg under the table, gesturing to their glaring father meaningfully.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He paused, then gestured expansively towards the audience.’
    • ‘‘No need to pay,’ he said, gesturing at the tables and chairs, ‘this is my home.’’
    • ‘"Take your pick, kid ", said the Major gesturing around the room.’
    • ‘Olivia gestured vaguely in the direction of the candy and Isabella took off, striding purposefully.’
    • ‘He gestured back to the door that I had just come through.’
    1. 1.1with object and adverbial or infinitive Direct or invite (someone) to move somewhere specified.
      ‘he gestured her to a chair’
      • ‘He turned to the person in the corner of the pub and gestured him over.’
      • ‘Yet when the train settles against the platform and the passengers disembark I actually find myself politely gesturing him to board ahead of me.’
      • ‘Jasmine gestured him toward the sofa, then settled across from him in the opposite chair.’
      • ‘Sean came to a small door, and opened it, gesturing her inside.’
      • ‘The man returned the salute and gestured him towards the desk in the center of the room.’
      • ‘A servant in voluminous green robes ducked her head in an abbreviated bow and gestured them into the house.’
      • ‘He gestured his other two men to take up position behind another table.’
      • ‘As they moved from the bridge, they gestured us to follow.’
      • ‘He walked over to his two companions, gesturing them to follow him over to the girl.’
      • ‘Belarus gestured his squad forward, and began to target each of the downed drones and automated turrets.’
      • ‘Flanked by the member of team A - 2, he gestured them onward with a sweep of his arm.’
      • ‘Paloma gestured Helen to hide herself, while she turned away and headed toward south.’
      • ‘He tugged gently on her hand and gestured her back along the corridor.’
      • ‘She quietly took a step forward, before gesturing the class to come closer.’
      • ‘Jing nodded without a single word and gestured Gloria to continue what she had to say.’
      • ‘She took it out and pointed it at him and curled it to gesture him to come towards her.’
      • ‘When they both finally arrive, she gestured them to sit down beside her.’
      • ‘Rachelle waved her cousin away as he gestured her to the backyard, where the party was happening.’
      • ‘The man stopped at one door among the many, opening it and gesturing the detective inside with a nod of his head.’
      • ‘She gestured me towards a screened-off area behind the check-in desk.’
      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’
      • ‘Unable to comment on the fishing fiasco, they just gestured a weary resignation at yet another fine mess.’
      • ‘Jim shook his head again, gesturing his helplessness with both hands.’
      • ‘It was broken up by a blooper to right by Jason Giambi, to whom Boomer gestured thanks immediately afterwards.’
      • ‘Suddenly, one of the borders raises his fingers to Gregor, gesturing his observance of the large bug in his presence.’
      • ‘Then, for good measure, I also gestured gratitude in the mirror when in front of him.’
      • ‘I said this, even using my hands to gesture my sincerity.’
      • ‘I gestured my permission and then started to weep, remembering their occasional father.’
      • ‘After each jump, she gestured her thanks, the intensity at once gone, the smile as blazing as the grimness a moment before.’
      • ‘I rested my right hand on her thigh and squeezed it, gesturing a thank you for calming me down.’

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

/ˈjesCHər//ˈdʒɛstʃər/