List of gestures

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People often use gestures during heated or tense arguments, such as at this political demonstration.

Gestures are a form of nonverbal communication in which visible bodily actions are used to communicate important messages, either in place of speech or together and in parallel with spoken words.[1] Gestures include movement of the hands, face, or other parts of the body. Physical non-verbal communication such as purely expressive displays, proxemics, or displays of joint attention differ from gestures, which communicate specific messages.[1] Gestures are culture-specific and can convey very different meanings in different social or cultural settings.[2] Gesture is distinct from sign language. Although some gestures, such as the ubiquitous act of pointing, differ little from one place to another, most gestures do not have invariable or universal meanings but connote specific meanings in particular cultures. A single emblematic gesture can have very different significance in different cultural contexts, ranging from complimentary to highly offensive.[3]

This list includes links to Wikipedia pages that discuss particular gestures, as well as short descriptions of some gestures that do not have their own page. Not included are the specialized gestures, calls, and signals used by referees and umpires in organized sports. Police officers also make gestures when directing traffic. Pantomime is an art form in which the performer utilizes gestures to convey a story. Charades is a game of gestures.

Single hand gestures[edit]

Okay sign
Before "bunny ears," people were given cuckold's horns as an insult by sneaking up behind them with two fingers (c. 1815 French satire).
Kennedy's gesture seen here with Nikita Khrushchev.
The "fig sign" is an ancient gesture with many uses.
The ILY sign, "I Love You"
a man pointing at a photo
Pollice Verso by Jean-Léon Gérôme.

Two-hand gestures[edit]

U.S Surrender with raised hands during the Battle of Corregidor
Jazz hands
The Merkel-Raute

Gestures made with other body parts[edit]

The "cut-throat" or throat slash sign

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kendon, Adam (2004). Gesture: Visible Action as Utterance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-83525-9. 
  2. ^ Morris, Desmond; Collett, Peter; Marsh, Peter; O'Shaughnessy, Marie (1979). Gestures, Their Origins and Distribution. London: Cape. ISBN 0-224-01570-2. 
  3. ^ Kendon, Adam (1994). "Human gestures". In K.R. Gibson and T. Ingold. Tools, Language and Cognition in Human Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  4. ^ de Bruyn, Pippa; Bain, Keith; Allardice, David; Joshi, Shonar (2010). Frommer's India. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-64580-2. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c McNeill, David (1992). Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal About Thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 
  6. ^ Strubbe, Kevin; Hobert, Liesbeth (2009). Etiquette in Het Buitenland. Leuven: Van Halewijck. 
  7. ^ a b c Gary Imai. "Gestures: Body Language and Nonverbal Communication". Retrieved 12 November 2009. 
  8. ^ Mark Schumacher. "Maneki Neko: The Lucky Beckoning Cat". 
  9. ^ Lowrie, Walter (1906). Monuments of the Early Church. London: Macmillan. 
  10. ^ A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities: Being a Continuation of the Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 1 William George Smith and Samuel Cheetham, London, John Murray, 1878.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Armstrong, Nancy; Wagner, Melissa (2003). Field Guide to Gestures: How to Identify and Interpret Virtually Every Gesture Known to Man. Philadelphia: Quirk Books. 
  12. ^ a b Mankiewicz, Josh (7 November 2006). "For politicians, the gesture's the thing: 'The Clinton thumb' has become a bipartisan weapon in Washington". Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  13. ^ The Cuckold's Horns, Beach Combing, May 16, 2014.
  14. ^ "American Sign Language Browser". Communication Technology Laboratory. Michigan State University. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  15. ^ The Evil Eye, Frederick Thomas Elworthy, 1895.
  16. ^ "Primate Gestures May Be Clue to Human Language". National Public Radio. 1 May 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c Kendon, Adam (1995). "Gestures as illocutionary and discourse structure markers in Southern Italian conversation". Journal of Pragmatics 23: 247–279. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  18. ^ Hodgdon, Barbara (2005). A companion to Shakespeare and performance. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub. ISBN 1405150238. 
  19. ^ Haviland, John B. (2005). "Gesture as cultural and linguistic practice". In Anita Sujoldzic. Linguistic Anthropology, Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. Oxford: EOLSS Publishers. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  20. ^ "British-born Chinese blog: Why do we make V signs in photographs?". 
  21. ^ "The Japanese Version (the Sign of Peace)". Icons. A Portrait of England. Archived from the original on 10 January 2007. 
  22. ^ "Koreans and the mysterious V sign". 
  23. ^ "Forumosa. Peace sign=photo sign, since when?". 
  24. ^ "Thai Girls Photo Pose ~ Pattaya Unlimited". 
  25. ^ Partridge, Eric; Dalzell, Tom; Victor, Terry (2008). The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. Routledge. p. 683. ISBN 0-203-96211-7. 
  26. ^ Leber, Jessica (15 April 2008). "Do the Awkward Turtle". Columbia News Service. Columbia Journalism School. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  27. ^ Ishida, Toru; Fussell, Susan R.; Vossen, Piek (2007). Intercultural Collaboration: First International Workshop, IWIC 2007, Kyoto, Japan, January 25–26, 2007: Invited and Selected Papers. Berlin: Springer. ISBN 3-540-73999-8. 
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ "'Merkel diamond' takes centre stage in German election campaign". The Guardian. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  32. ^ "'Who, What, Why: What is the quenelle gesture?'". Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  33. ^ Nick Paumgarten. "Whatever". New Yorker. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  34. ^ a b Rickford, John R.; Rickford, Angela E. (1976). "Cut-Eye and Suck-Teeth: African Words and Gestures in New World Guise". The Journal of American Folklore 89 (353): 294–309. 
  35. ^ "Russian gestures". The Guardian. 10 February 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  36. ^ CultureGrams - Republic of the Marshall Islands
  37. ^ Vichot, Ray (2009). "Doing it for the lulz?": Online Communities of Practice and Offline Tactical Media (Master of Science in Digital Media thesis). Georgia Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  38. ^ Christopher Deliso, Saying Yes and No in the Balkans, retrieved 2011-05-23 
  39. ^ The Associated Press (29 March 2006). "Justice Scalia Chastises Boston Newspaper". Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  40. ^ Roberts, Ann; Avril Harpley (2007). Helping Children to be Competent Learners. London: Routledge. 
  41. ^ Shipley, Joseph Twadell (2001). The Origins of English Words: A Discursive Dictionary of Indo-European Roots (reprint ed.). Baltimore: JHU Press. p. 302. ISBN 0-8018-6784-3. Retrieved 8 August 2009. 
  42. ^ Cambridge University Press (2006). Cambridge Idioms Dictionary (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-86037-7. 
  43. ^ Schiller, Joyce (August 21, 2014). "The End". Exploring Illustration: Essays in Visual Studies. The Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  44. ^ Randall, Charles; Bushnell, Joan LeGro (1986). Hisses, Boos & Cheers: Or, A Practical Guide to the Planning, Producing and Performing of Melodrama!. Dramatic Publishing. p. 41. 

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