gesture

noun
ges·​ture | \ ˈjes-chər How to pronounce gesture (audio) , ˈjesh-\

Definition of gesture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 archaic : carriage, bearing
2 : a movement usually of the body or limbs that expresses or emphasizes an idea, sentiment, or attitude raised his hand overhead in a gesture of triumph
3 : the use of motions of the limbs or body as a means of expression
4 : something said or done by way of formality or courtesy, as a symbol or token, or for its effect on the attitudes of others a political gesture to draw popular support— V. L. Parrington

gesture

verb
gestured; gesturing

Definition of gesture (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make a gesture (see gesture entry 1 sense 2)

transitive verb

: to express or direct by a gesture (see gesture entry 1 sense 2)

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Synonyms for gesture

Synonyms: Noun

gesticulation, mime, pantomime, sign, signal

Synonyms: Verb

beckon, flag, motion, signal, wave

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Examples of gesture in a Sentence

Noun

Specific gestures can indicate particular moods. His arm was raised in a gesture of defiance.

Verb

She gestured towards the fireplace. He gestured at his audience. The room was filled with angry people shouting and gesturing. He gestured to his partner to leave.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Stealing the spotlight during moments of women’s achievement with a big, allegedly romantic gesture is not an unusual move, even among men who aren’t begging for their partners to forgive them after reportedly cheating on them. Constance Grady, Vox, "Offset stormed the stage at Cardi B’s concert. It was anything but romantic.," 17 Dec. 2018 Hun Sen in recent months has been signaling his desire to improve his image with Western critics with a series of conciliatory gestures. Sopheng Cheang, The Seattle Times, "Cambodian court gives suspended sentences to labor leaders," 11 Dec. 2018 Boundaries fizzle accordingly, yielding a vast spectrum of tender gestures. Rachel Vorona Cote, The New Republic, "In GLOW, Who Gets To Be Empowered?," 28 June 2018 The underground MetroCard economy is a dance of hand gestures, knowing looks and expressions of gratitude, as riders buy illicit $2 swipes from opportunistic sellers. New York Times, "Selling MetroCard Swipes Remains Illegal, and a Way of Life," 17 June 2018 Over the past 20 months following my ALS diagnosis, that moment singlehandedly ranks at the top of amazing gestures. Chad Finn, BostonGlobe.com, "A letter of appreciation from John Martin, a NESN cameraman, to Boston sports media," 11 June 2018 That’s where the triviality of these gestures is also a weapon. Moira Donegan, The Cut, "In Conversation With Mary Beard," 7 June 2018 The photo of the kind gesture was posted on the Braves' Twitter. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Powerful image shows Braves fan holding umbrella for Marine Corps JROTC member," 29 May 2018 Reaching out with thanks for even the smallest of gestures is meaningful. Caroline Rogers, Southern Living, "5 Reasons to Write a Thank-You Note," 9 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

McCain famously cast a deciding vote last year that stopped the repeal by gesturing with a thumbs-down on the Senate floor. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "News stories you may have missed during family separations uproar," 22 June 2018 Derby County manager Frank Lampard gestures on the touchline. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "On His Manager’s Secret Service: Espionage Comes to English Soccer," 15 Jan. 2019 But the proposed prison strike also gestures toward — and helps to create — an abolitionist political horizon, one that does not rely on cages to solve social problems. Stephanie Onderchanin, Teen Vogue, "How the National Prison Strike Is Working to Help Incarcerated People in the United States," 21 Aug. 2018 My mother, backlit in the doorway, gestured with a sweep of the hand to present the inaugural view. Liz Arnold, Longreads, "Making Peace with the Site of a Suicide," 11 July 2018 Your professor holds forth in class, lecturing, orating, gesturing, bantering — equal parts pedagogue and performer. Alfred Lubrano, Philly.com, "After complaints, Ratemyprofessors.com does away with its 'hotness' ratings," 11 July 2018 At another point in the video, the father, gesturing angrily, spills the child from his arms onto the ground, then picks him up. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "Father swings his infant son at a woman ‘like a baseball bat,’ California police say," 11 July 2018 As Stanton gestured and glared, Fiers pleaded innocence. New York Times, "Giancarlo Stanton Gets Taste of Revenge, but Yankees Can’t Complete a Sweep," 4 June 2018 The finger gestures to another question as well: What happened to the population that made it all the way to Arabia? Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "Rare 85,000-year-old Finger May Complicate Our Understanding of African Migration," 10 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gesture.' 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 gesture

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1542, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for gesture

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin gestura mode of action, from Latin gestus, past participle of gerere

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Statistics for gesture

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gesture

The first known use of gesture was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for gesture

gesture

noun

English Language Learners Definition of gesture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a movement of your body (especially of your hands and arms) that shows or emphasizes an idea or a feeling
: something said or done to show a particular feeling or attitude

gesture

verb

English Language Learners Definition of gesture (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a gesture : to move your hands, arms, etc., to express an idea or feeling

gesture

noun
ges·​ture | \ ˈjes-chər How to pronounce gesture (audio) \

Kids Definition of gesture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a movement of the body (as the hands and arms) that expresses an idea or a feeling … Tutok rose and made a gesture of farewell.— Scott O'Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins
2 : something said or done that shows a particular feeling He invited her in a gesture of friendship.

gesture

verb
gestured; gesturing

Kids Definition of gesture (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make or direct with a gesture I gestured for her to come.

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Comments on gesture

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