noun, plural in form but singular in construction
ki·​ne·​sics | \ kə-ˈnē-siks How to pronounce kinesics (audio) , kī-, -ziks \

Definition of kinesics

: a systematic study of the relationship between nonlinguistic body motions (such as blushes, shrugs, or eye movement) and communication

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Anthropologists began to take serious interest in nonverbal communication through gestures, postures, and facial expressions in the 1940s. It is believed, however, that the publication of Ray Birdwhistell’s 1952 book Introduction to Kinesics marked the beginning of formal research into what we know familiarly as "body language." Over 50 years later, the results of kinesics are deeply entrenched in our culture, giving us a whole new language with which to interpret everyday encounters and interaction.

First Known Use of kinesics

1952, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kinesics

Greek kinēsis motion + English -ics

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Cite this Entry

“Kinesics.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Sep. 2021.

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