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[jes-cher] /ˈdʒɛs tʃər/
a movement or position of the hand, arm, body, head, or face that is expressive of an idea, opinion, emotion, etc.:
the gestures of an orator; a threatening gesture.
the use of such movements to express thought, emotion, etc.
any action, courtesy, communication, etc., intended for effect or as a formality; considered expression; demonstration:
a gesture of friendship.
Digital Technology. a particular movement of the body, typically the fingers or hand, used to control or interact with a digital device (often used attributively): a gesture command;
Use a two-finger pinching gesture on your touchscreen to zoom in or out.
verb (used without object), gestured, gesturing.
to make or use a gesture or gestures.
verb (used with object), gestured, gesturing.
to express by a gesture or gestures.
Origin of gesture
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Medieval Latin gestūra mode of action, manner, bearing, equivalent to Latin gest(us) past participle of gerere to bear, carry on, perform + ūra -ure
Related forms
gestural, adjective
gesturer, noun
ungestural, adjective
ungesturing, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gesture
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But Shenac put his words aside with a gesture of indifference.

    Shenac's Work at Home Margaret Murray Robertson
  • Mr. Dill mumbled as he swung his arms in the gesture of swimming.

    The Man from the Bitter Roots Caroline Lockhart
  • His gesture, his courage, the look in his eye, would have made the wildest pony quail.

    The Affair at the Inn Kate Douglas Wiggin
  • Stuart waved aside the extended hand with a gesture of annoyance.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • She imagined some great, vague gesture; not an incident, but a gesture; and it hung in the air suspended like a shadow.

    Spiritual Adventures Arthur Symons
British Dictionary definitions for gesture


a motion of the hands, head, or body to emphasize an idea or emotion, esp while speaking
something said or done as a formality or as an indication of intention: a political gesture
(obsolete) the manner in which a person bears himself; posture
to express by or make gestures; gesticulate
Derived Forms
gestural, adjective
gesturer, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin gestūra bearing, from Latin gestus, past participle of gerere to bear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gesture

early 15c., "manner of carrying the body," from Medieval Latin gestura "bearing, behavior," from Latin gestus "gesture, carriage, posture" (see gest). Restricted sense of "a movement of the body or a part of it" is from 1550s; figurative sense of "action undertaken in good will to express feeling" is from 1916.


1540s, from gesture (n.). Related: Gestured; gesturing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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