body language


Definition of body language

: the gestures, movements, and mannerisms by which a person or animal communicates with others

Examples of body language in a Sentence

We could tell from his body language that he was nervous.

Recent Examples on the Web

Gestures of violence, such as aggressive body language and/or rude hand gestures. Nicole Hockley, Quartz, "Four out of five mass shooters give you the power to stop them," 9 Aug. 2019 That’s what gets communicated, either by body language or by words. Albert Breer,, "Drew Brees, at 40, Is Looking to Get Better," 5 Aug. 2019 Humans tend to instinctively draw on other factors, such as body language or tone of voice, to complete their emotional assessments. Taylor Telford, Washington Post, "‘Emotion detection’ AI is a $20 billion industry. New research says it can’t do what it claims.," 31 July 2019 Golan tested very low vibrations on Tai, and the dog did not respond at all—a sign that the pooch was not responding to human body language but to the haptics alone. National Geographic, "Vibrating dog vest may let you 'talk' to your pup without saying a word," 9 July 2019 Just then, a car drove over rumble strips on nearby Galm Road and the officer noticed a drastic change in the woman's body language. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "Pair climb tree to get away from 'feral hog' in Texas park, but that's not what was chasing them," 4 July 2019 Members of marginalized groups have devised ways of recognizing and being recognized in potentially hazardous spaces, from haircuts to fashion to body language. Jennifer Bernstein, Vox, "Even as I question the institution of marriage and all its traditions, I find myself still wanting a ring.," 3 July 2019 At least that was the explanation from White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders when asked about the apparently agitated body language displayed by President Donald Trump's chief of staff during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Kelly was upset about the food at NATO breakfast, not Trump Germany remark, Sanders says," 11 July 2018 Zuri and her dad communicate through expressions and body language. Charles Solomon, New York Times, "‘Hair Love’: 3 Men and a Little Girl (With a Lot of Curls)," 29 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'body language.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of body language

1885, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for body language

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for body language

The first known use of body language was in 1885

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More Definitions for body language

body language


English Language Learners Definition of body language

: movements or positions of the body that express a person's thoughts or feelings

More from Merriam-Webster on body language

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with body language

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for body language

Comments on body language

What made you want to look up body language? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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