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Been collecting all week! A few of these I’m on the fence as to whether they are physical gestures conveying a meaning or merely actions that might reveal something about a (hypothetical) scene’s or character’s context. Nevertheless, I’ve been able to convince myself into keeping all of the following on my list (no apparent order to this thing):

She bit her lower lip.

He nodded.

He cupped his ear.

He held his bottom and ran.

He grimaced.

He shook his head.

He toed the dirt.

He looked away.

He looked to the side.

He looked down.

He looked at the floor.

He stared at his feet.

She raised an eyebrow.

He raised his eyes.

He kicked a stone.

He kicked some rocks.

She bit her nails.

He chewed his nails.

He sighed.

She snapped her fingers.

She tapped her temple.

He raised his middle finger.

She wagged her finger.

She squinted.

Her eyes narrowed.

He bobbed his head.

His head bobbed.

He glanced at his watch.

He picked his ear.

He panted.

She twirled her hair.

She twirled her gum.

She wet her lips.

She licked her lips.

She nudged him.

She elbowed him.

He spit at the ground.

She yawned.

He twiddled his thumbs.

He twisted his ring back and forth.

His brows furrowed.

He leaned in.

He turned away.

She pointed.

He twitched his nose.

His eyes darted.

He drummed his fingers.

She chewed her lip.

He threw an elbow.

His teeth chattered.

She covered her ears.

She covered her mouth.

He sucked his teeth.

She clicked her tongue.

He glanced at his phone.

He bounced on his toes.

He clicked his heels.

She lowered her glasses.

He shook out his hands.

He smiled.

He frowned.

He tipped his hat.

He scratched his head.

He shifted in his chair.

He sat up straight.

She popped her gum.

She smacked her lips.

His head hung.

She poked his chest.

He raised a glass.

He winced.

She rolled her eyes.

She stood up straight.

He shrunk.

She tilted her head.

He cocked his head to the side.

He crossed his arms.

She crossed her legs.

He squirmed in his seat.

He took a step closer.

He stepped closer.

He stepped away.

He stepped back.

She nuzzled up against him.

She held his gaze.

He adjusted his tie.

She waved.

She waved him over.

She waved him away.

She shooed him.

He ran his fingers through his hair.

She faced him.

He paced.

She tucked her hands in her pockets.

She sat on her hands.

He rubbed his chin.

He rubbed his hands together.

She shook his hand.

He kissed her hand.

She pulled away.

He took her hand in his.

She waved her hands about.

She flailed her arms.

He stiffened.

She batted her eyelashes.

She gave puppy dog eyes.

He made his hand into a pistol, pointed it his temple, and pulled the trigger.

He slammed his fist on the table.

She shook her fist.

She flipped her hair.

She rumpled his hair.

She crinkled her nose.

He put a hand to his ear.

He rocked back and forth.

He rocked on his heels.

She crossed her heart.

He cracked his knuckles.

He cracked his neck.

He crossed his fingers.

He clutched his chest.

She chewed her inner cheek.

He dragged his feet.

His face sank.

His head drooped.

He fanned himself.

She stomped her foot.

He flinched.

She cringed.

Her hands trembled.

She hugged her knees.

He put a finger to his lips.

He held his chin high.

She patted her pockets.

She cleared her throat.

He loosened his tie.

She parted her lips.

He touched her cheek.

He traced a finger along her jaw.

She stroked his arm.

She moistened her lips.

He snuck a glance.

He flapped his hands about.

His eyes widened.

She shoved him.

His foot tapped.

His nostrils flared.

He breathed heavily.

Her eyes searched his.

He stood perfectly still.

He spit out his water.

Water shot out his nose.

She squeezed his hand three times.

She bared her teeth.

She pressed her nails into her palms.

He loosened his collar.

He slammed the drawer.

Her toes curled.

He held his head in his hands.

He put his hands to his head.

She forced a smile.

He rubbed the back of his neck.

She massaged her temples.

He put a fist to his mouth.

He bit his knuckle.

He chewed his knuckle.

She threw her hands up.

She checked her hair in the mirror.

She smoothed her hair.

She bit her lip.

He picked at his food.

He moved the food around on the plate.

She threw her ring at him.

He pouted.

He stuck out his bottom lip.

He stuck out his tongue.

He put his thumb to his nose and wiggled his fingers.

She put her thumbs to her ears and wiggled her fingers.

He gave a thumbs up.

He gave a thumbs down.

They exchanged glances.

He scratched his head.

He threw an arm around her.

He threw an elbow.

He fake-coughed.

He tapped the top of his wrist.

He made a fist and pumped his arm at the driver of the semi truck.

She rubbed her eyes.

She blew him a kiss.

He winked.

She put a hand on her hip.

She jutted out her hip.

He blew his nose.

He wiped sweat from his brow.

He held up a hand.

He danced impatiently.

He whistled at her.

He whistled to her.

He whistled into the air.

He put a finger down his throat.

She chewed her hair.

He stuck out a hitchhiker thumb.

His mouth formed an O.

His jaw dropped open.

He met her gaze.

She pursed her lips.

She nestled her head into the nook of his arm.

She scrunched up her lips.

He blinked quickly.

He did a double-take.

She followed his gaze.

Her eyes tracked him.

He shuffled his feet.

He gasped for air.

He let out a gasp.

He gasped.

She let out a measured breath.

He panted.

He clenched his jaw.

He flexed his arm.

He dug his heels into the ground.

He wrestled away from her grip.

He massaged his temples.

She pinched her nose.

He sprinted ahead of her.

He sprawled his body in front of it.

He made an X with his arms.

He stretched out his arms.

He sniffed the air.

He snorted.

He cupped his hands over his mouth.

He tapped his fingers together.

She caressed his arm.

He caressed her cheek.

She gagged.

She made a gagging sound.

He held his breath.

He took a deep breath and held it.

He exhaled slowly.

He pounded on the door.

He punched the wall.

She half-smiled.

She ran her tongue over her teeth.

She mouthed the words.

She flung her hair over her shoulder.

She tousled her hair.

She called him with her index finger.

She beckoned him with her finger.

She waved frantically.

She didn’t say anything.

She paused.

She put her head between her knees.

She stood with her hands on her knees and panted.

She stood with her hands on her hips.

He saluted her.

He looked left, then right.

She nodded him to the empty chair.

She cracked an imaginary whip.

He spread his legs and spanked the air between them.

She clapped.

She slowly clapped.

She turned her nose in the air.

He wrinkled his forehead.

He knelt down and pressed his palms together.

His eyes wandered.

His eyes wouldn’t stay open.

He undid his belt.

He unbuttoned his pants.

He looped his belt between his hands and gave it a snap.

She stuck out her tongue and panted.

She sucked on her finger.

She filled her cheeks with air.

He swallowed hard.

She studied his face.

She studied his eyes.

She stomped on an invisible break pedal.

He pressed her face into his shoulder.

He fell forward.

He sank on his knees and put his face on the bed.

She was silent.

She swayed from side to side.

He tugged at his ear.

He hesitated.

He scrambled away.

He clambered up.

He fumbled with it.

She embraced him.

🤷🏻‍♀️ That’s all I got. 🤞for an Easter basket. 🙂

Good luck everyone!

👋 Adios Amigos!

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Here we go! Some ones jotted down over the last week or so:

∙ She raised two fingers.

∙ Her jaw dropped.

∙ She pursed her lips.

∙ She buried her head into her arms.

∙ He paced the room.

∙ He stroked his beard.

∙ She bit her bottom lip.

∙ She scrunched up her nose.

∙ She winked.

∙ She twizzled her hair between her thumb and index finger.

∙ She outstretched her arms, raising them way up above her head, clasping one hand with the other.

∙ He shuffled his feet.

∙ He shovelled the food into his mouth.

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Prepare to be Kar-pet bombed! The sun is almost up and I am psyched, one week before my birthday, so....

I have categorized the entries by body part, but could also sort them by emotion. Enjoy!


1. Ran fingers through lock of hair

2. Twirled lock of hair

3. Pulled earlobe

4. Nodded robotically

5. Preened hair


1. Batting eyelashes

2. Eyelashes fluttered

3. Eyelashes slammed open dramatically

4. Eyebrows knit

5. Wave of recognition swept across his face

6. Brow worked

7. Raised eyebrows

8. Thrust out chin

9. Pursed lips

10. Licked lips nervously

11. Licked lips suggestively

12. Squeezed lips together

13. Bit lips

14. Eyes darted around

15. Eyes changed

16. Eyes narrowed

17. Eyes glazed over

18. Forced smile

19. Bit nails

20. Got lump in throat

21. Coughed to cover up surprise

22. Coughed to stall

23. Cleared throat

24. Picked nose

25. Wrinkled nose

26. Flared nostrils

27. Swallowed the bile that rose in her throat

28. Felt pupils dilating

29. Stared off into space

30. Stared to the right

31. Sucked teeth (scorn in Africa)

32. Try to get food unstuck with tongue

33. Stuck out tongue

34. Blinked rapidly

35. Fought back tears

36. Sniff

37. Close eyes and laugh in private space

38. Stifle a laugh

39. Laugh so hard fluid comes out nose

40. Laugh til you can’t breathe

41. (exaggerated) wink

42. Bite arm (threatening, angry gesture)

43. Wolf whistle

44. Whistle to call someone (fingers in mouth)

45. Whistle of surprise


1. Hugged torso

2. Hands on hip stance

3. Bowing at hips (submissive gesture)

4. Shifts in seat


1. Put finger in front of lips (lips are sealed)

2. Picked at new mole

3. Play with pencil

4. Sat on hands

5. Dug nails into palm

6. Snapped fingers when got an idea

7. Fanned air in front of him/her

8. Put hand on heart

9. Cracked knuckles

10. Adjusted clothing to cover up more

11. Loosened collar (felt hot/ashamed)

12. Fingered necklace beads like a rosary, lips twitching as she silently recited names of loved ones

13. Picked at lint

14. Rubbed at phantom pain

15. Played air instrument (to ease anxiety/nervousness)

16. Covered mouth to stifle a scream

17. Clenched fist

18. Rifled through her purse

19. Pounded desk for effect

20. Checked phone surreptitiously

21. Cupped hand around ear

22. Raised hand upward in what the ?? gesture

23. Tapped temple

24. Patted someone on head

25. Pinched cheek

26. Cupped person’s cheek

27. Squeezed blackheads/pimples

28. Pick at something in teeth

29. Stroked stubble

30. Pluck chin hairs (women)

31. Exposed neck

32. Take off hat

33. Men with hands on belt pointing down

34. Gripped object until knuckles went white

35. Raised index finger

36. Raised middle finger

37. Rubbed hands together (good riddance)

38. Folded up napkin into tiny pieces

39. Shredded napkin

40. Put up secrecy wall around mouth (e.g. age)

41. Touch person playfully

42. Dismissive gesture

43. Facepalm


1. Sighed dramatically

2. Held breath without knowing it

3. Gasped

4. Hummed

5. Puffed out cheeks

6. Blow a kiss


1. Tapped foot

2. Crossed legs

Cross cultural

1. Gesticulated wildly (Mediterranean cultures)

2. Raise and lower eyebrows quickly to indicate agreement (or greeting) SE Asia

3. Make clicking noise in back of throat (means agreement in West Africa)

My list is obviously open-ended, so there might well be more. My forewarned "fore-arms" thank you for allowing me to prepare a good week ahead of time.

As for me, I use Balinese ceremonial hand gestures often to indicate awe, reverence and humility. Maybe I should shoehorn those into a short story ;)

Any my favourite, "held arms open for a hug." Only one of my "heroes" didn't do that, but he didn't need to. Sometimes people can just figure these things out from all the other body language cues.

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I laughted at the hidden contest. After that i read as if Chuck was whispering for a bit.

He scratches his butt

She cupped her hand around her ear

He gave us the vulcan salute

He gave us the nazi salute

She pinches her nose

She press a nostril and aspirates.

He puts a finger down his throat

He was silently yelling

She left, moonwalking

He banged his chest

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His eyes flew across the room and landed on her cleavage. (An actual sentence from a manuscript I read.)

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He pursed his lips.

She drummed her fingers on the table.

He wiped his nose.

She cracked her knuckles.

He ran a hand through his hair.

She wrinkled her nose.

He crossed his legs.

She pulled her hair.

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She sniffed.

He flicked his wrist.

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He pulled his fists into his cuffs.

She cracked her bubblegum.

He prodded her shoulder.

She tugged at his sleeve.

He closed his eyes and exhaled.

She lowered her eyes and giggled.

One corner of her mouth lifted up.

He rolled his sleeves up.

She shrugged.

She bit her lip and studied her feet.

He dragged the toe of his sneaker through the dirt.

She clapped a hand over her mouth.

She twisted the earring in her lobe.

He prodded at the blue lint in his belly button.

She fingered the embroidery on her skirt hem.

He licked his lips and sighed.

He patted her ass.

She nuzzled the teddy bear.

He gripped her chin.

She pulled her dressing gown tighter.

She nibbled at the skin around her thumb.

His fingers grazed the stain on his tie.

He pinched the skin above his waistline.

She massaged her temples.

He smoothed his hands over his hair.

She folded her arms around her knees and leaned closer.

He pressed a finger to his lips and shook his head.

He rubbed at the bruise on his cheek.

He closed his teeth around the tourniquet.

She snapped the lid off the bottle.

He kicked out at the pigeon at his feet.

He flicked his cigarette.

She followed the words on the page with her finger.

He mouthed the words as she sang.

He tugged at his tie knot.

She eased off her shoes.

He scratched a patch of sunburn.

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Some that I’ve saved over the past few days:

- flinching

- clenching/unclenching

- shrugging

- brushing

- rubbing

- curtseying

- frowning

- trembling

- nostrils flaring

- fumbling

- twisting

- bowing

- fidgeting

- finger pointing

- brow creasing

- eyes widening

- head banging

- fist shaking

- stroking

- smacking palm against forehead

- slumping shoulders

- nose crinkling

- eyes rolling

- finger gun(s)

- thumbs up/down

- peace sign/chucking deuces

- foot tapping

- eyebrow plucking

- hunched over

- laying on of hands

- eyes shifting

- winking

- crossing arms

- thumbing your nose

- dragging feet

- gripping

- the okay sign

- the biker wave

- crossing fingers

- nose plucked (I’ve got your nose game)

- dapped/dapping up

- giving them the finger

- knocked on wood

- golf clapped

- L on forehead

- cracking knuckles

- hand outstretched

- scout salute

- T’ed up (the T hand signused in basketball for a technical foul call)

- mooning

- running finger over throat

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The “jack-off” motion.

The “phantom rope” (once pulled up, meant to mimic being strung up)

The “1/2 No” Usually between close friends who know each other’s tendencies

The raised fist (when in front of others to signify 🛑)

The nose touch (understand/agreed/yes)

The “abandon ship” or “cut it out” the flat hand warning back/forth in front on throat

The “Thanks bruh 🤙🏼“ when someone lets you in/out to traffic

The “single finger solidarity” given to a vehicle that is similar enough to yours, or has another implied significance that might designate the acknowledgment

The “after you, kind sir” where one steps aside/back and waves someone past/in front of themselves

The Hat Tip: When a vehicle let’s you cross/ shows a courtesy and you have a hat on. Without a hat it’s mixed reviews between the nod, or halfhearted Miss America wave.

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She bit her tongue.

She sat on her hands.

She twiddled her thumbs.

She crossed her fingers.

She rolled her eyes.

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Starting a thread here:

He cracked his fingers and neck in a mock gesture of preparation for what was to come.

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I'm posting before I read comments so there are probably duplicates but here goes...

She tilted her head

She gave me side eyes

He steeples his fingers

He rubbed the back of his neck

He shrugged

She rolled her eyes

She raised her eye brow

She pursed her lips

She rubbed her ear lobe

She shifted her hips

She crossed her legs

He scuffed his shoes

She liked her lips

He chewed the inside of his cheek

He bit his lip

He slouched

He cocked his head

He twisted his ring

He bit the skin of his knuckles

He took a slow drag of his cigarette

She blew smoke

She made finger guns and pointed

She pulled gently at her hair

She folded her arms

He clasped his hands

He drummed his fingers

She made a fist

She fanned her fans

She cracked her knuckles

She sucked in her cheeks

She covered her face/eyes/ears

She blinked

She finger waved

He gave a fishy stare

She slow clapped

He sneered

He ran his finger across his neck

She patted her hair

She wiped her nose/eyes/mouth

She swallowed

He gulped

He gagged

He drooled

She blew a kiss

She sauntered

She stretched

She arched her back

He shifted his feet awkwardly

He put his hands in his pocket

He fumbled for a cigarette

She took a sip

She choked

She fingers her neckless

He loosened his tie

She messed with her zip

She tucked her hands up her sleeves

She hugged herself

She spread her palms wide

She gave me jazz hands

She sighed loudly

He stuck out his bottom lip

He snarled

He curled his lip

She bit her nails

She hunched up, made herself small

More soon

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