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 nonverbal communication.

    • ‘Other kinds of human communication [besides speech] are sometimes called language: body language, or kinesics, is one example.’
    • ‘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.’
    gesture, sign, wave, gesticulation, cue, prompt, indicator, indication, communication, message
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[usually treated as plural]Certain body movements and gestures regarded as a form of nonverbal 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.