gesture


gesture
gesticulation, gesture
1. Gesture is a somewhat older word (15c) than gesticulation (16c), and both are related to Latin gestus meaning ‘action’. In current use they overlap in their meanings to do with movement of the body or parts of the body as a mode of expression, and it is the degree of animation that governs the choice, gesticulation indicating a much more theatrical movement of the arms or body. The extended meaning of gesture, ‘a friendly action intended to evoke a positive response’, first came into English as recently as the early 20c:

• The gift of your Medal of Honour to a British comrade in arms…is a gesture of friendly sympathy and good will which we will not forget —Times, 1921

• Flowers didn't occur to Sneed until he had arrived at the hospital, and there the gesture was pointless —G. F. Newman, 1970.

2. A neologism from the end of the 20c that has extended this use is gesture politics, defined as ‘political action which concentrates primarily on publicity value and influencing public opinion’. It is normally used with connotations of disapproval:

• There is no room for gesture politics. If we want to open debate about the future and our constitution, that is fine —Daily Mail, 1995.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:
(accompanying oral utterance), , , ,


Look at other dictionaries:

  • gesture — n Gesture, gesticulation are comparable when meaning an expressive movement or motion of the body or limbs or the use of such a movement or motion. Gesture is the more inclusive term; it may imply any such movement or motion intended to express… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • gesture — [jes′chər] n. [ME < ML gestura, mode of action < L gestus, pp. of gerere, to bear, carry] 1. a movement, or movements collectively, of the body, or of part of the body, to express or emphasize ideas, emotions, etc. 2. anything said or done… …   English World dictionary

  • Gesture — Ges ture, n. [LL. gestura mode of action, fr. L. gerere, gestum, to bear, behave, perform, act. See {Gest} a deed.] 1. Manner of carrying the body; position of the body or limbs; posture. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Accubation, or lying down at meals,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Gesture — Ges ture, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Gestured}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Gesturing}.] To accompany or illustrate with gesture or action; to gesticulate. [1913 Webster] It is not orderly read, nor gestured as beseemeth. Hooker. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • gesture — (n.) early 15c., manner of carrying the body, from M.L. gestura bearing, behavior, from L. gestus gesture, carriage, posture (see GEST (Cf. gest)). Restricted sense of a movement of the body or a part of it is from 1550s; figurative sense of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • gesture — [n] motion as communication action, body language, bow, curtsy, expression, genuflection, gesticulation, high sign, indication, intimation, kinesics, mime, nod, pantomime, reminder, salute, shrug, sign, signal, sign language, token, wave, wink;… …   New thesaurus

  • gesture — ► NOUN 1) a movement of part of the body to express an idea or meaning. 2) an action performed to convey one s feelings or intentions. 3) an action performed for show in the knowledge that it will have no effect. ► VERB ▪ make a gesture.… …   English terms dictionary

  • Gesture — Ges ture, v. i. To make gestures; to gesticulate. [1913 Webster] The players . . . gestured not undecently withal. Holland. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • gesture — index brandish, symbol Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Gesture —   [sprich: Dschästscha, dt. »Geste«], Anweisung für das Betriebssystem eines Pen Computers. Gestures werden mit einem Stift eingegeben (dem Pen), dessen Bewegungen auf dem berührungssensitiven Display vom Betriebssystem ausgewertet werden.… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Gesture — A gesture is a form of non verbal communication made with a part of the body, used instead of or in combination with verbal communication . The language of gesture allows individuals to express a variety of feelings and thoughts, from contempt… …   Wikipedia


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