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See more synonyms for gesture on Thesaurus.com
  1. a movement or position of the hand, arm, body, head, or face that is expressive of an idea, opinion, emotion, etc.: the gestures of an orator; a threatening gesture.
  2. the use of such movements to express thought, emotion, etc.
  3. any action, courtesy, communication, etc., intended for effect or as a formality; considered expression; demonstration: a gesture of friendship.
  4. Digital Technology. a particular movement of the body, typically the fingers or hand, used to control or interact with a digital device (often used attributively): a gesture command; Use a two-finger pinching gesture on your touchscreen to zoom in or out.
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verb (used without object), ges·tured, ges·tur·ing.
  1. to make or use a gesture or gestures.
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verb (used with object), ges·tured, ges·tur·ing.
  1. to express by a gesture or gestures.
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Origin of gesture

1375–1425; late Middle English < Medieval Latin gestūra mode of action, manner, bearing, equivalent to Latin gest(us) past participle of gerere to bear, carry on, perform + ūra -ure
Related formsges·tur·al, adjectiveges·tur·er, nounun·ges·tur·al, adjectiveun·ges·tur·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for gesture

nod, signal, sign, token, indication, action, reminder, expression, salute, curtsy, bow, wink, mime, intimation, genuflection, wave, gesticulation, shrug, pantomime, kinesics

Examples from the Web for gesture

Contemporary Examples of gesture

Historical Examples of gesture

  • "It's the way you're treating me," he cried, with a clumsy man's awkward attempt at gesture.


    William J. Locke

  • Naturally by far the most important part of this was gesture.

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus

    Wilton Wallace Blancke

  • The girl shook the links of the handcuffs in a gesture stronger than words.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Voice, pose and gesture proclaimed at least the excellent mimic.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Mary made a gesture toward him that he should not interfere.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for gesture


  1. a motion of the hands, head, or body to emphasize an idea or emotion, esp while speaking
  2. something said or done as a formality or as an indication of intentiona political gesture
  3. obsolete the manner in which a person bears himself; posture
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  1. to express by or make gestures; gesticulate
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Derived Formsgestural, adjectivegesturer, noun

Word Origin for gesture

C15: from Medieval Latin gestūra bearing, from Latin gestus, past participle of gerere to bear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gesture


early 15c., "manner of carrying the body," from Medieval Latin gestura "bearing, behavior," from Latin gestus "gesture, carriage, posture" (see gest). Restricted sense of "a movement of the body or a part of it" is from 1550s; figurative sense of "action undertaken in good will to express feeling" is from 1916.

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1540s, from gesture (n.). Related: Gestured; gesturing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper