Top 29 Slang For Gesture – Meaning & Usage

Gestures are a universal form of communication, but did you know there’s a whole array of slang terms to describe them? From a simple thumbs up to a sassy eye roll, our team has gathered the most popular and quirky slang for gestures. So, if you’re ready to add some flair to your non-verbal language, buckle up and get ready to learn some fun new expressions!

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1. Salute

A salute is a gesture that involves raising one hand, typically the right hand, to the forehead as a sign of respect or acknowledgment. It is commonly used in military or formal settings.

  • For example, soldiers often salute their superiors as a sign of respect and obedience.
  • In a formal ceremony, a person might salute the flag or a dignitary.
  • A salute can also be used sarcastically, such as when someone sarcastically salutes a person who made a mistake.

2. Rock on

The “rock on” gesture involves extending the index and pinky fingers while curling the other fingers into the palm. It is a gesture commonly associated with rock music and is used to express enthusiasm or approval.

  • For instance, at a concert, fans might use the “rock on” gesture to show their support for the band.
  • When someone accomplishes a difficult task, a person might give them a “rock on” gesture to show admiration.
  • In a casual conversation, someone might say, “That’s awesome! Rock on!”

3. Slow clap

The “slow clap” is a gesture where someone starts clapping slowly and gradually increases the speed. It is often used sarcastically to express mockery, disappointment, or lack of enthusiasm.

  • For example, if someone gives a long and boring speech, the audience might respond with a slow clap to show their disapproval.
  • In a movie, a character might use a slow clap to mock another character’s failed attempt at something.
  • When someone makes a sarcastic comment, another person might respond with a slow clap to highlight the sarcasm.

4. Thumbs down

The “thumbs down” gesture involves extending the thumb downward, indicating disapproval or rejection. It is commonly used to express a negative opinion or to signal that something is not good.

  • For instance, if someone asks for feedback on a proposal and it is disliked, someone might give a thumbs down to indicate their disapproval.
  • In a sports game, if a player makes a mistake, the audience might give a thumbs down to show their disappointment.
  • When someone suggests a bad idea, another person might give a thumbs down to signal disagreement.

5. Shaka sign

The “shaka sign” is a hand gesture where the thumb and pinky finger are extended while the other fingers are curled. It is commonly associated with Hawaiian culture and is used to convey a sense of aloha, friendship, or hang loose vibes.

  • For example, when someone wants to greet a friend in a laid-back manner, they might give a shaka sign.
  • In surfing culture, surfers often use the shaka sign to acknowledge each other or to express stoke after catching a wave.
  • When someone is feeling relaxed and happy, they might flash a shaka sign as a non-verbal way of saying “all is good.”

6. Crossed fingers

This gesture involves crossing one’s fingers, typically the index and middle fingers, as a way to wish for good luck or to indicate that one is hoping for a positive outcome.

  • For example, “I crossed my fingers and hoped that I would pass the exam.”
  • In a sports game, a fan might say, “Cross your fingers for a touchdown!”
  • Someone might say, “I’m crossing my fingers that it doesn’t rain on our outdoor wedding.”

7. Blowing a kiss

Blowing a kiss involves puckering one’s lips and blowing towards someone as a sign of affection or to send them a virtual kiss.

  • For instance, “She blew a kiss to her partner before leaving for work.”
  • In a romantic movie, a character might blow a kiss to their love interest.
  • A parent might blow a kiss to their child as they drop them off at school.
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8. Facepalm emoji

The facepalm emoji is a digital representation of a person slapping their forehead with their hand, often used to express frustration, disbelief, or embarrassment.

  • For example, “When I saw the mistake in my presentation, I immediately sent a facepalm emoji to my colleague.”
  • In a text conversation, someone might use the facepalm emoji after receiving a silly question.
  • A person might comment on a social media post, “Facepalm. Can’t believe people still believe that.”

9. Peace out

“Peace out” is a slang term used to bid farewell to someone, often accompanied by making a peace sign with one’s fingers.

  • For instance, “I’m heading home now. Peace out!”
  • In a casual conversation, someone might say, “Peace out, see you later!”
  • A person might post a picture on social media with the caption, “Last day of vacation. Peace out, beach!”

10. Hang loose

To “hang loose” is a gesture where one extends the thumb and pinky finger while curling the other fingers, creating a hand sign associated with a casual and relaxed attitude.

  • For example, “He gave a thumbs up and a hang loose sign to show his approval.”
  • In a beach setting, someone might say, “Hang loose and enjoy the sun.”
  • A person might comment on a friend’s picture, “Looking good! Hang loose, my friend!”

11. Victory sign

This gesture is made by raising the index and middle fingers in a V shape, with the palm facing outward. The victory sign is often associated with peace and victory.

  • For example, a person might flash the victory sign in a photo to convey a positive message.
  • During a protest, a group might raise their hands in the victory sign to show solidarity and support for a cause.
  • In some cultures, the victory sign is used as a symbol of peace and goodwill.

12. OK sign

The OK sign is made by forming a circle with the thumb and index finger, while the other fingers are extended. It is often used to indicate approval or agreement.

  • For instance, a person might give the OK sign to show that everything is going well.
  • In a conversation, someone might make the OK sign to signal their agreement with a statement.
  • A coach might give the OK sign to a player to indicate that they are doing a good job.

13. Face with heart eyes emoji

This emoji is a yellow face with heart-shaped eyes, indicating a strong feeling of love or infatuation.

  • For example, someone might use the face with heart eyes emoji to express their admiration for a celebrity.
  • When texting a friend about a cute puppy, one might add the face with heart eyes emoji to convey their excitement.
  • A person might receive a compliment and respond with the face with heart eyes emoji to show their appreciation.

14. Fist bump

The fist bump is a gesture in which two people lightly tap their closed fists together. It is often used to greet or congratulate someone.

  • For instance, friends might fist bump each other as a casual greeting.
  • After completing a challenging task, teammates might fist bump to celebrate their success.
  • A person might give a fist bump to show support and encouragement to someone going through a difficult time.

15. Face touch

The face touch gesture involves touching or rubbing one’s face, often as a sign of nervousness or anxiety.

  • For example, during a job interview, a person might unconsciously touch their face as a result of feeling anxious.
  • When someone is telling a personal story, they might touch their face to indicate their emotional state.
  • A person might notice their friend touching their face and ask if everything is okay, as it can be a sign of inner turmoil.

16. Shaka

The shaka is a hand gesture that involves extending the thumb and pinky finger while curling the other fingers into a fist. It is often associated with a laid-back, surfer culture and is used to convey a sense of aloha or positivity.

  • For example, “He gave a shaka as he rode by on his surfboard.”
  • A person might say, “Don’t worry, everything will be alright” while giving a shaka.
  • In Hawaii, the shaka is used as a friendly greeting or farewell gesture.
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17. Nod

A nod is a gesture where the head is moved up and down, typically used to indicate agreement, approval, or understanding. It is a simple and universally understood gesture.

  • For instance, “She gave a nod of approval when she heard the good news.”
  • During a conversation, a person might nod to show that they are listening and understanding what the other person is saying.
  • When asked if they want something, a person might nod to indicate their affirmative response.

18. Eye roll

An eye roll is a gesture where one or both eyes are rolled upwards, often accompanied by a sigh or other expression of annoyance, disbelief, or exasperation. It is typically used to convey sarcasm or to show that someone finds a situation ridiculous or irritating.

  • For example, “She couldn’t help but roll her eyes when her friend made another silly joke.”
  • During an argument, a person might roll their eyes to indicate that they think the other person’s argument is absurd.
  • When someone makes a ridiculous statement, another person might respond with an eye roll to show their disbelief.

19. Hand wave

A hand wave is a gesture where the hand is moved back and forth, typically used to greet someone or to get someone’s attention. It is a friendly and non-verbal way of acknowledging someone’s presence.

  • For instance, “She gave a hand wave to her friend across the room.”
  • When trying to catch a waiter’s attention, a person might wave their hand to get their attention.
  • During a parade, people might wave their hands to show their support or to greet the participants.

20. Shoulder shrug

A shoulder shrug is a gesture where the shoulders are lifted and then dropped, often accompanied by a facial expression of uncertainty, indifference, or resignation. It is typically used to indicate that someone doesn’t know or doesn’t care about something.

  • For example, “He gave a shoulder shrug when asked about his plans for the weekend.”
  • When asked a difficult question, a person might respond with a shoulder shrug to indicate that they don’t have an answer.
  • When faced with a challenging situation, a person might shrug their shoulders to show that they are accepting the circumstances.

21. Thumbs in ears

This gesture involves placing both thumbs in the ears while wiggling the fingers. It is commonly used to mock or taunt someone, often in a playful or teasing manner.

  • For example, during a friendly argument, one person might stick their thumbs in their ears and say, “Nah nah, can’t hear you!”
  • In a lighthearted exchange, someone might use this gesture while saying, “I’m not listening to your silly jokes!”
  • A group of friends might playfully tease each other by sticking their thumbs in their ears and making funny faces.

22. Pinky swear

This gesture is a way of making a promise or agreement between two people. It involves interlocking the pinky fingers and is often accompanied by the phrase “pinky swear” or “pinky promise”.

  • For instance, two friends might pinky swear to keep a secret by linking their pinky fingers and saying, “Pinky swear you won’t tell anyone!”
  • In a playful exchange, someone might say, “I promise I won’t eat all the cookies. Pinky swear!” while interlocking their pinky finger with someone else’s.
  • A parent might use this gesture to make a promise to their child, saying, “I promise we’ll go to the park this weekend. Pinky swear!”

23. Clapping hands emoji

The clapping hands emoji is a symbol used to express applause or excitement in digital communication. It is often used to show appreciation, support, or enthusiasm for someone or something.

  • For example, after a friend shares good news, someone might respond with the clapping hands emoji to show their excitement.
  • In a comment on a social media post, someone might use this emoji to applaud a great achievement or accomplishment.
  • During a virtual event or livestream, viewers might use the clapping hands emoji to show their appreciation for a performance or presentation.
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24. Throat slash

The throat slash gesture involves running one’s hand across the throat in a slicing motion. It is commonly used to indicate a threat or danger, often in a dramatic or intense situation.

  • For instance, in a heated argument, one person might make the throat slash gesture to convey a sense of danger or a warning.
  • In a movie or TV show, a character might use this gesture to intimidate or frighten someone.
  • A sports fan might make the throat slash gesture towards an opposing team’s player or fan to express a desire for victory or dominance.

25. Talk to the hand

The “talk to the hand” gesture involves holding up one’s hand, palm facing outward, as a way to dismiss or ignore someone. It is often used to indicate that the person speaking is not interested in listening or engaging in a conversation.

  • For example, if someone is trying to argue with another person, the second person might hold up their hand and say, “Talk to the hand, I’m not interested.”
  • In a playful exchange, someone might use this gesture while saying, “Sorry, I can’t hear you. Talk to the hand!”
  • A person might use the “talk to the hand” gesture to set boundaries and communicate that they do not want to be bothered or interrupted.

26. Okay sign

The “Okay” sign is made by forming a circle with the thumb and index finger, while the other fingers are extended. It is used to indicate approval, agreement, or to show that everything is fine.

  • For example, a person might say, “I asked if she wanted to go out tonight, and she gave me the okay sign.”
  • In a conversation, someone might say, “If you’re okay with it, we can meet at 7?” and the other person responds with the okay sign.
  • A teacher might use the okay sign to give a student approval for a job well done.

27. Pinky promise

A pinky promise is a gesture where two people interlock their pinky fingers to symbolize a promise or agreement. It is often used among friends or children to solidify a promise.

  • For instance, two friends might pinky promise to always be there for each other.
  • When making a bet, someone might say, “If I win, you owe me $10. Pinky promise?”
  • A parent might say to their child, “If you finish your homework, we can go to the park. Pinky promise?”

28. Rock-paper-scissors

Rock-paper-scissors is a hand game played between two people. Each player simultaneously forms one of three shapes with an outstretched hand: a rock (fist), paper (open hand), or scissors (index and middle finger extended). It is used to settle disputes or make decisions in a fair and random manner.

  • For example, two friends might play rock-paper-scissors to decide who gets the last slice of pizza.
  • In a classroom, a teacher might use rock-paper-scissors to determine who goes first in a game.
  • During a family game night, siblings might play rock-paper-scissors to decide which game to play next.

29. Peace fingers

The peace fingers gesture involves extending the index and middle fingers while keeping the other fingers folded. It is a symbol of peace and is often associated with the peace movement or as a victory sign.

  • For instance, at a concert, a musician might raise their hand with the peace fingers as a sign of unity with the audience.
  • In a photograph, someone might flash the peace fingers to show a sense of peace and happiness.
  • During a protest, participants might raise their hands with the peace fingers to emphasize their peaceful intentions.