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

These gestures of empathy and kinship have helped keep us going. courant.com, "Friends, family of missing New Canaan mother Jennifer Farber Dulos grateful for ‘steady stream of love’ as search continues," 12 June 2019 Watching players practice spotlights one of the great small gestures of tennis: players schlepping their own bags. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "50 Parting Thoughts From the 2019 French Open: Rafa, Barty and So Much More," 9 June 2019 Her friends would rally around her; soon the house would be split into factions, the living room dedicated to whispering and side-eyes, the front stoop to yelling and wide gestures with cigarettes in hand. Aimée Lutkin, Curbed, "Losing a home you’ve already left," 6 June 2019 More Disney fun than ever + a gesture of thanks to classroom heroes? Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "WATCH: Disney Springs Hotels Celebrate Teacher Appreciation with Amazing Discounts for Educators," 4 June 2019 Depending on how the blocks are put together, the robots move or light up in response to a hand gesture. Tom Avril, https://www.inquirer.com, "Franklin Institute’s Tech Studio gives visitors a hands-on taste of engineering," 4 June 2019 And iPadOS introduces a new suite of three-finger gestures that all revolve around text formatting. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "iPadOS, coming “this fall”: Thumb drives, more gestures, “desktop-class” browsing [Updated]," 3 June 2019 But, according to the paper, its departure was for its own good, a benevolent gesture by its owner. Reis Thebault, The Seattle Times, "The mystery of Julian Assange’s cat: Where will it go? What does it know?," 12 Apr. 2019 Photographer: Michelle Gustafson/Bloomberg Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, gestures during the Christian Democrat Union (CDU) Business Day in Berlin on June 12. Bloomberg.com, "Bloomberg’s Week in Pictures," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Warriors players, Thompson and Quinn Cook among them, gestured angrily at the crowd. Mark Medina, The Mercury News, "Warriors 106, Raptors 105: Kevin Durant’s injury a dark cloud," 10 June 2019 After name-checking documentaries like 2016's The White Helmets and 2017's Last Men In Aleppo—both centered on the Syrian Civil War—the staffer gestured to a theater screen. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare," 30 May 2019 James tried in vain to call timeout, gestured in frustration, exchanged words with Smith, and then stomped back to the bench. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Anatomy of a Blunder: Inside J.R. Smith's Devastating Game 1 Mistake," 1 June 2018 The cliché here is to gesture at notions of Skynet, but the real dangers are far more grounded than some kill-all-humans fantasy. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Here's a Chilling Glimpse of the Privacy-Free Future," 10 May 2017 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

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

17 Jun 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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