Definition of gesture in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdʒɛstʃə/


1A movement of part of the body, especially a hand or the head, to express an idea or meaning: Alex made a gesture of apology [mass noun]: so much is conveyed by gesture
More example sentences
  • It has to do with attitude or spirit, which is reflected in speech patterns and facial expressions, hand gestures and overall body movement.
  • So what do their expressions, hand gestures, body movements and speech say about what they're really thinking and feeling?
  • Those quick hand gestures and body movements betray a restless energy and a need for variety and originality.
1.1An action performed to convey a feeling or intention: Maggie was touched by the kind gesture a gesture of goodwill
More example sentences
  • She remembers other gestures of goodwill, including an Italian who took it upon himself to cook lunch for the farmer and his family while they were at church.
  • Sometimes, youngsters convey through their simple gestures what many adults can never express in a thousand words.
  • In a gesture of goodwill, a 24-hour internet cafe and a finance company in Edinburgh have offered US citizens free internet access to contact their loved ones.
1.2An action performed for show in the knowledge that it will have no effect: I hope the amendment will not be just a gesture
More example sentences
  • There was no indication that these paltry and tardy gestures have had any effect in dampening the mass protest movement.
  • A Department of Justice spokesperson rejected suggestions the move was a political gesture which would prove unrealistic when challenged.
  • He denied the move was a political gesture.


[no object]
1Make a gesture: she gestured meaningfully with the pistol
More example sentences
  • Gavin kicked her leg under the table, gesturing to their glaring father meaningfully.
  • Edwards, as nearly as I can tell, never utters a word without one or more hands gesturing in some significant, word-intensifying manner.
  • ‘No need to pay,’ he said, gesturing at the tables and chairs, ‘this is my home.’
1.1 [with object and adverbial or infinitive] Direct (someone) somewhere by means of a gesture: he gestured her towards a chair
More example sentences
  • She gestured me towards a screened-off area behind the check-in desk.
  • The man returned the salute and gestured him towards the desk in the center of the room.
  • She took it out and pointed it at him and curled it to gesture him to come towards her.
signal, make a gesture, make a sign, give a sign, sign, motion, wave, indicate, gesticulate



Pronunciation: /ˈdʒɛstʃər(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Yee has brushed thick gestural strokes of bright colour onto existing photographs, then re-produced these unique combined images in another photograph.
  • Gesturese is a physical manifestation of baby speak which modifies gestural communication for young children.
  • There have been many gestural attempts to endow some buildings and the institutions that they house with significance through architectural symbolism.


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin gestura, from Latin gerere 'bear, wield, perform'. The original sense was 'bearing, deportment', hence 'the use of posture and bodily movements for effect in oratory'.

  • jest from Late Middle English:

    In the Middle Ages a jest was not a joke but a notable exploit. It was spelled gest, and came from the Latin word gesta ‘actions, exploits’. It has the same root as gesture (Late Middle English). Jest came to be used for a narrative of someone's deeds, and from that became a word for ‘an idle story’ and then ‘a joke’.

Words that rhyme with gesture

divesture, vesture

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ges|ture

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