Definition of kinesics in US English:


plural noun

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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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 nonverbal communication.
      • ‘Mr. O was showing and acknowledging a greater affective range, both verbally and in his kinesics.’
      • ‘The anatomical characteristics of a person have a definite bearing on our perception of his or her kinesics.’


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