Jump to: ISBEWebster'sThesaurusGreekHebrewLibrarySubtopicsTerms
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) A motion of the body or limbs expressive of sentiment or passion; any action or posture intended to express an idea or a passion, or to enforce or emphasize an argument, assertion, or opinion.

2. (n.) Manner of carrying the body; position of the body or limbs; posture.

3. (v. t.) To accompany or illustrate with gesture or action; to gesticulate.

4. (v. i.) To make gestures; to gesticulate.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

jes'-tur, jes'-tur: The Oriental is rich in gestures by which feelings are expressed and force added to words. Of this we have abundant illustration in the Bible. Almost every available part of the body was employed in gesture. In salutations the whole body was bowed, sometimes to the ground (Genesis 18:2; Genesis 19:1; Genesis 33:7; 42:06:00; 33:3), falling on the face to the ground and bowing to the ground, 3 times (1 Samuel 20:41 Genesis 23:7 2 Samuel 9:8; 2 Samuel 18:21 1 Kings 2:19); it was common also to embrace and kiss (Exodus 18:7), etc., weeping for joy. Esau "fell on (Jacob's) neck, and kissed him: and they wept" (Genesis 33:4); compare Joseph and his brethren (Genesis 45:14, 15); David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:41), and the father of the prodigal (Luke 15:20). We have the kiss also in the story of Judas with his Master (Matthew 26:49). Bowing the knee was also in Egypt an act of homage to a superior (Genesis 41:43); bowing the knee and bowing down were common in prayer and worship (1 Kings 19:18 2 Chronicles 6:13 Ezra 9:5 Isaiah 45:23); in prayer the head and whole body were also bowed (Genesis 24:26 2 Kings 5:18 2 Chronicles 29:28 f). The rabbins decreed that in prayer "in bowing down, the back must be bent so low that every vertebra becomes conspicuous," and endless questions arose as to what it was lawful to do during prayer (Edersheim). We read also of prayer offered standing (1 Samuel 1:26 1 Kings 8:22 Matthew 6:5 Mark 11:25), lifting up and spreading forth the hands (1 Kings 8:22 2 Chronicles 6:13 Ezra 9:5 Nehemiah 8:6 1 Timothy 2:8); "lifting up the hands" was synonymous with prayer (Psalm 77:2; Psalm 141:2 Lamentations 2:19 1 Timothy 2:8); falling on the knees in pleading (1 Kings 1:13). Reverence for the aged was expressed by rising up in their presence (Leviticus 19:32, 5:12). The hand was also laid on the mouth in token of respect (Job 29:9); in token of blessing the right hand was placed on the head (Genesis 48:14; compare Genesis 49:26 Proverbs 10:6). The hands were laid on the head of the animal to be sacrificed; on the scapegoat and sin offering as denoting the transference of sin; on the burnt offering, perhaps as representing the offerer (Leviticus 1:4; Leviticus 16:21). The hands were lifted up in blessing (Leviticus 9:22), in solemn swearing (Genesis 14:22 Exodus 6:8 Deuteronomy 32:40), in defiance and threatening (2 Samuel 20:21); extended in pleading (Isaiah 65:2). Giving the hand or joining hands as a pledge of friendship and fidelity (2 Kings 10:15 Proverbs 11:21) was the origin of the widespread custom of "shaking hands"; "striking hands" signified the clenching of a bargain or agreement (Proverbs 6:1 the Revised Version British and American)); as a solemn pledge the hand was placed under the thigh of the person to whom it was given (Genesis 24:2; Genesis 47:29); plucking the hand out of the bosom was a sign of action (Psalm 74:11); clapping the hands, of rejoicing (2 Kings 11:12 Psalm 47:1; Psalm 98:8 Isaiah 55:12), also of ridicule, contempt and rejoicing over one (Job 27:23 Lamentations 2:15 Nahum 3:19). We read of "beckoning with the hand" (Luke 5:7 John 13:24), preliminary to speaking (Acts 12:17; Acts 13:16; Acts 19:33; Acts 21:40; Acts 26:1, he "stretched forth his hand"); drooping of the hands indicated failure, weakness or distress (Hebrews 12:12; compare Isaiah 35:3; Ecclesiasticus 25:23); washing the hands (publicly) was a declaration of innocence, "of freedom from complicity" (Deuteronomy 21:6, 7 Matthew 27:24).

The head lifted up was a sign of arrogance or pride (Psalm 83:2); of exaltation, or recovery from trouble, etc. (Judges 8:28 Psalm 27:6; Psalm 110:7 Zechariah 1:21); to cover the head was a symbol of grief or mourning (2 Samuel 15:30 Esther 6:12 Jeremiah 14:3), also putting the hand on the head (2 Samuel 13:19 Jeremiah 2:37), or ashes, dust or earth (Joshua 7:6 1 Samuel 4:12 2 Samuel 12; 2 Samuel 13:19 Esther 4:1); wagging (or shaking) the head expressed contempt or malicious enjoyment (Job 16:4 Psalm 64:8 Jeremiah 18:16 Lamentations 2:15; with "hissing," compare Matthew 27:39 Mark 15:29; compare Psalm 22:7; Psalm 44:14; Psalm 109:25 Jeremiah 48:27).

Uncovering the feet was a sign of grief (2 Samuel 15:30 Isaiah 20:2, 4); lifting up the heel against one was a symbol of opposition (Psalm 41:9 John 13:18); shaking the dust from the feet, of freeing from responsibility and of complete rejection (Matthew 10:14 Acts 13:51; at Corinth Paul "shook out his raiment," Acts 18:6); strong joyous feeling found (as elsewhere) expression in dancing (Judges 11:34; Judges 21:21 1 Samuel 18:6 Jeremiah 31:4, 13), before Yahweh (Exodus 15:20 2 Samuel 6:14, 16).

Shooting out the lip was an expression of contempt (Psalm 22:7); to incline the ear signified attention (Psalm 45:10); rending the garments expressed the sense of horror (as in the presence of disaster, blasphemy, etc.) (Numbers 14:6 Joshua 7:6 1 Samuel 4:12 2 Samuel 1:2; 2 Samuel 13:19; 2 Samuel 15:32 Matthew 26:65 Acts 14:14); the smile indicated favor and gave confidence (Job 29:24); lifting up the eyelids was a sign of pride (Proverbs 30:13); Isaiah speaks also of the "outstretched necks and wanton eyes" of the haughty daughters of Zion, "walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet" (Isaiah 3:16). The perverse man "winketh with his eyes. speaketh with his feet... maketh signs with his fingers" (Proverbs 6:13).

It is interesting to note the gestures ascribed in the Gospels to Jesus. The expression of His eyes is often referred to; we read how He "lifted up his eyes on his disciples" before pronouncing the Beatitudes, indicating a loving regard for them (Luke 6:20); how He "looked upon" the young ruler and "loved him," and, with another expressive "look" (round about)-a sad look-said, "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:21, 23); how He "looked up to heaven" before He blessed and brake the loaves (Matthew 14:19 Mark 6:41 Luke 9:16); also before healing (Mark 7:34); how He "looked round" on His adversaries in the synagogue (Luke 6:10), "with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their heart" (Mark 3:5); how He "turned and looked upon Peter" so that he remembered his boasting and fall, and went out and wept bitterly (Luke 22:61); we read also how He took a little child into His arms and held him up as an example to His disciples (Mark 9:36), and how He "took (little children) in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands upon them" (Mark 10:16); how He "stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground" when the woman accused of adultery was brought to Him, then "lifted up himself" and spake, again "stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground," till the woman's accusers had departed one by one, condemned and ashamed, when He again "lifted up himself" and sent the woman away (John 8:6); how on His way to the tomb of Lazarus, He was agitated, the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) "was troubled," margin "troubled himself." Meyer has "shuddered." Some translation "shook himself" (John 11:33).

See, further, ATTITUDES.

W. L. Walker

1770. enneuo -- to nod at, ie beckon or communicate by gesture
... to nod at, ie beckon or communicate by gesture. Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration:
enneuo Phonetic Spelling: (en-nyoo'-o) Short Definition: I make a sign to ...
// - 6k

1175. deisidaimonia -- a religion, superstition
... Cognate: 1175 (akin to 1174 , see there) -- properly, dread of a pagan deity "inspiring"
a "token show of respect" (religious gesture) -- especially religious ...
// - 7k

Strong's Hebrew
7169. qarats -- to nip, pinch
... A primitive root; to pinch, ie (partially) to bite the lips, blink the eyes (as
a gesture of malice), or (fully) to squeeze off (a piece of clay in order to ...
/hebrew/7169.htm - 6k

The Dramatic Element in Speaking
... A preacher drawing himself up to his full height, with a significant gesture of
the head, or with flashing eye pointing the finger of warning at his hearers ...
/.../kleiser/talks on talking/the dramatic element in speaking.htm

Successful Methods of Public Speaking
... have been very great. One eminent speaker used practically no gesture; another
was in almost constant action. One was quiet, modest ...
/.../successful methods of public speaking/successful methods of public speaking.htm

Practical Hints for Speakers
... Your gesture should be graceful, appropriate, free, forceful, and natural.
Avoid all gesture which is unmeaning, angular, abrupt ...
/.../kleiser/talks on talking/practical hints for speakers.htm

... PART THREE"Articulation and Pronunciation. PART FOUR"Gesture and Facial Expression. ...
How to speak, develop vocabulary, write, train memory, gesture, etc. ...
/.../kleiser/the training of a public speaker/advertisements.htm

When I Wrote a Little Volume on My Friend Mr. ...
... The difference between Puritanism and Catholicism is not about whether
some priestly word or gesture is significant and sacred. ...
/.../chesterton/whats wrong with the world/chapter 28 when i wrote.htm

Whether any virtue Regards the Outward Movements of the Body?
... i, 18): "The sound of the voice and the gesture of the body are distasteful to me,
whether they be unduly soft and nerveless, or coarse and boorish. ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/whether any virtue regards the.htm

Useful Phrases
... admittedly inferior. admonitory gesture. adolescent youth. ... benignant pity [benignant =
favorable; beneficial; kind]. beseeching gesture. besetting heresy. ...
/.../kleiser/fifteen thousand useful phrases/section i useful phrases.htm

The Cardinal was Seated, -- He Rose as Moretti Appeared. ...
... The Cardinal gave a gesture of courteous deprecation; and Monsignor Moretti, lifting
his, till then, partially lowered eyelids, flashed an angry regard upon ...
/.../corelli/the master-christian/xv the cardinal was seated.htm

Matt. vi. 1
... they make themselves manifest to all by their voice, crying out disorderly, [832]
and rendering themselves objects of ridicule both by gesture and voice. ...
/.../chrysostom/homilies on the gospel of saint matthew/homily xix matt vi 1.htm

It is a Little Remarkable That, While Some Classes of Christians ...
... greater animation in the manner, more of the lighting up of the soul in the countenance
and whole mien, more freedom and meaning in the gesture; the eye speaks ...
/.../ware/hints on extemporaneous preaching/chapter i it is a.htm

... 2. (n.) Manner of carrying the body; position of the body or limbs; posture. 3.
(vt) To accompany or illustrate with gesture or action; to gesticulate. ...GESTURE. ...
/g/gesture.htm - 20k

Writing (194 Occurrences)
... Earliest mankind expressed itself by gesture or voice and recorded in memory, but
at a very early stage man began to feel the need of objective aids to memory ...
/w/writing.htm - 70k

Gesh'urites (6 Occurrences)
Gesh'urites. Geshurites, Gesh'urites. Gesture . Multi-Version Concordance ... (See
RSV). Geshurites, Gesh'urites. Gesture . Reference Bible.
/g/gesh'urites.htm - 8k

Natural (49 Occurrences)
... 5. (a.) Springing from true sentiment; not artificial or exaggerated; -- said
of action, delivery, etc.; as, a natural gesture, tone, etc. ...
/n/natural.htm - 42k

Gestured (1 Occurrence)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary (imp. & pp) of Gesture. Multi-Version Concordance
Gestured (1 Occurrence). John 13:24 Simon Peter therefore ...
/g/gestured.htm - 6k

Wink (2 Occurrences)
... "He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow" (Proverbs 10:10). See Watkinson,
Education of the Heart, "Ethics of Gesture," 194;. ...
/w/wink.htm - 9k

Finger (35 Occurrences)
... person is thus described in Proverbs 6:13 as "teaching" or "making signs with his
fingers." Such insulting gestures (compare eg the gesture of Shimei in ...
/f/finger.htm - 22k

... upon, that is, beat violently, their breasts. Such drumming on the breasts
was a gesture indicative of great grief (Luke 18:3). ...
/t/taber.htm - 7k

Expression (17 Occurrences)
... vivid representation of meaning, sentiment, or feeling, etc.; significant and
impressive indication, whether by language, appearance, or gesture; that manner ...
/e/expression.htm - 12k

Express (13 Occurrences)
... a true impression of; to represent and make known; to manifest plainly; to show
in general; to exhibit, as an opinion or feeling, by a look, gesture, and esp. ...
/e/express.htm - 12k



Related Terms

Writing (194 Occurrences)

Gesh'urites (6 Occurrences)

Natural (49 Occurrences)

Gestured (1 Occurrence)

Wink (2 Occurrences)

Finger (35 Occurrences)


Expression (17 Occurrences)

Express (13 Occurrences)

Motion (8 Occurrences)

Behavior (20 Occurrences)

Sniff (1 Occurrence)

Sign (181 Occurrences)

Surety (21 Occurrences)

Horn (108 Occurrences)

Prayers (99 Occurrences)

Hand (14438 Occurrences)

Book (211 Occurrences)

Christ (573 Occurrences)

Bible ConcordanceBible DictionaryBible EncyclopediaTopical BibleBible Thesuarus
Top of Page
Top of Page