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ges·​ture ˈjes-chər How to pronounce gesture (audio)
: 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
: the use of motions of the limbs or body as a means of expression
: 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
archaic : carriage, bearing


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gestured; gesturing

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Nearly all the elements in the spare, looping display are abstract, reducing the human body to a gesture, a memory, a presence more spiritual than physical. Vince Aletti, The New Yorker, 2 Dec. 2023 Savino made a half-joking face palm gesture when asked about Bona’s struggles. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2023 Show Appreciation All Year While holiday gestures are important, consistent appreciation throughout the year is even more crucial. Curt Steinhorst, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 On Father's Day, just before their 2020 wedding, Samantha made a special gesture to celebrate their impending union. Nasha Smith, Peoplemag, 28 Nov. 2023 This camera can also be used to detect gestures—just hold your palm up at the camera to pause music. Julian Chokkattu, WIRED, 27 Nov. 2023 The execs chuckled at the gesture but refused to put on the T-shirts, leaving only Friedman and Ullman to wear them. Luisa Beltran, Fortune, 27 Nov. 2023 Learn how to set up the double tap gesture on your phone and watch here. Kurt Knutsson, Fox News, 23 Nov. 2023 The survey results show that participants perceived the approach using hand gestures to be faster but also a bit more mentally taxing to use and slightly less accurate than selecting from the menu. IEEE Spectrum, 22 Nov. 2023
In the lobby of the Inland Valley Humane Society & SPCA shelter in Pomona, Nikole Bresciani gestured toward rows of kennels erected a few months ago to house an influx of stray cats. Alene Tchekmedyian, Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec. 2023 But regardless of the outcome, the accusations leveled via the cases gesture to themes that have defined the latest chapter in crypto’s short history: chicanery and profiteering, concealed by a veneer of decentralization. Joel Khalili, WIRED, 22 Nov. 2023 Granted, the New Jersey and Virginia results do seem to gesture in the right general direction. Nathaniel Rakich, ABC News, 16 Nov. 2023 Parker gestured toward Bill McKinney, of New Kensington Community Development Corporation, and Casey O’Donnell, of Impact Services. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, 10 Nov. 2023 And attendees broadly agreed that engagement would need to address core issues and not just gesture at jobs. Justin Worland, TIME, 23 Oct. 2023 Nelles asked, gesturing to the grandstanding of the Republican hard-liners who triggered McCarthy’s ouster. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2023 When Pinkerton is not in a scene, the singer who plays him often hovers to the side, gesturing and twitching in an indolent trance. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 23 Oct. 2023 Alicia gestured wildly at Fred to turn down the TV. Eli Hager, ProPublica, 16 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gesture.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4


1542, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near gesture

Cite this Entry

“Gesture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
ges·​ture ˈjes-chər How to pronounce gesture (audio)
: a movement of the body or limbs that expresses or emphasizes an idea or a feeling
: something said or done by way of courtesy or for its effect on other people
a political gesture


2 of 2 verb
gestured; gesturing
: to make or direct with a gesture

More from Merriam-Webster on gesture

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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