a. A motion of the limbs or body made to express or help express thought or to emphasize speech.
b. The action of making such a motion or motions: communicated solely by gesture.
2. An act or a remark made as a formality or as a sign of intention or attitude: sent flowers as a gesture of sympathy.
v. ges·tured, ges·tur·ing, ges·tures
To make gestures.
To show, express, or direct by gestures: gestured her disapproval.
[Middle English, from Medieval Latin gestūra, bearing, from Latin gestus, past participle of gerere, to carry, carry on, act.]
Synonyms: gesture, gesticulation, sign, signal
These nouns denote an expressive, meaningful bodily motion: a gesture of approval; frantic gesticulations to get help; made a sign for silence; gave the signal to advance.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.