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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.
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.
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 gestures
  • The policy attached to his gestures may in fact be extensive and effective.
  • The gestures you make are careful and labored, designed to keep you steady.
  • He has also developed special gestures to call up menus and perform other commands.
  • Explain that gestures don't always mean the same thing in different countries.
  • Monkeys may be able to devise gestures to communicate specific ideas.
  • The slang use of iced connotes bejeweled or monolithic gestures.
  • gestures let you control playback without having to hunt down a tiny on-screen button.
  • Their gestures are identical, stiff-armed with right palm facing down.
  • There have been scores of other pauses for mourning and reflection, many other gestures large and small.
  • Endowments are vague, amalgamated gestures toward a supposedly grand tomorrow.
British Dictionary definitions for gestures


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 gestures



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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