13 Revealing Body Language Hand Gestures

When you communicate, your brain automatically involves your hands to convey thoughts and emotions, without you even knowing it. In that way, your hand body language signals what you don’t say with your words. Being able to properly read body language is a key to ANY successful relationship.

Here are 13 of the most common hand body language gestures (with pictures) you’ll see every day:

1. Touch

hand in handHow you touch another person reveals how you feel toward them. When you make full contact with your palm, this communicates warmth, familiarity and fondness. Touching with only your fingertips means less fondness, maybe even some discomfort.

When a person touches you and you notice that his hands are warm, this tells you he is more or less at ease. Cold, clammy hands mean he is tense – not necessarily because of you, but possibly because of the circumstances.

2. Palms up

hand palm upOpen palms usually have a positive effect on people. It’s effective in making amends or closing a sale.

Combined with outstretched arms, it communicates acceptance, openness and trustworthiness.

When done with a jerk of the shoulders, it can mean resignation or admitting weakness, as if to say, “I have no idea”.

3. Palms down

hands palm downThis means confidence and shows that you know what you’re talking about – but it also conveys rigidity.

Downward palms with straightened fingers indicate a sense of authority, even dominance or defiance. When a person does this while talking to you, it means he is not going to budge and you might have to change your approach.

When combined with a chopping action, a downward palm indicates emphatic disagreement.

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4. Hands behind the back

Hands behind the back This is usually shows some amount of confidence, as the front torso and vital parts are exposed. You will often see this in men, and while it is always better to show hands, this is perhaps the exception to the rule as far as hand confidence displays go.

For many people, this hand position makes them feel totally uncomfortable when they are being looked at. They feel naked.

5. Clenched fists

Clenched fists usually connote firmness of resolve – think of someone preparing himself for a football game or a fistfight. It can signify unyieldingness, like a more intense version of palms facing down.

Clenched fists with thumbs tucked-in indicate discomfort. This person is anxious and trying to harden himself.

6. Hands on heart

hand on heartThis conveys a person’s desire to be believed or accepted. Though intended to communicate sincerity, it doesn’t necessarily mean honesty. It just means, “I want you to believe me (whether or not what I say is true”. I means, “What I say comes from the heart”.

7. Chopping movements

hand karate chopChopping is for emphasis, and is usually authoritative. A person who “chops” has made up his mind and is not likely to change it.

It can often be used as a way to make a point. For example, chopping down as to separate an idea in two categories. If you use this gesture, just don’t be too aggressive when you do it.

8. Finger Pointing

finger pointingPointing a finger at a person while speaking is an authoritative gesture. People do this when imposing themselves: parents do it to their children, teachers to unruly students. It’s a way of talking down, usually interpreted as aggressive and angry. When done to a peer, it’s a show of arrogance – it’s confrontational, invasive and offensive. A fiercer variation is jabbing your finger.

In any case, it’s often considered impolite to point at a person. It would be more refined to point with your whole hand.

A playful finger-point with a wink however, is a pleasant expression of approval or acknowledgement.

Pointing a finger in the air adds emphasis to your words. It convinces people of your confidence and authority. You may notice how politicians or preachers use this as they speak.

9. Rubbing hands together

hand in anticipationHand-rubbing indicates anticipation or relishing something to come. Always remember that self-rubbing gestures used to dissipate stress – and being overly excited in anticipation of something to come is a form of positive stress.

Another form of this is cracking knuckles – it expresses readiness for action, more often associated with men.

10. Clasping hands, squeezing hands

hand wringingClasping and squeezing hands together is a self-pacifying gesture. A person who does this is uncomfortable, maybe even nervous or fearful. He’s trying to assure himself, “Everything’s going to be alright.” A variation of this is rubbing the wrist.

Clasped hands with interwoven fingers indicate great anxiety and frustration. That person is thinking, “Things are going really bad”. You better prepare yourself when you spot this.

11. Steepling

hand steepleSteepling is what you call palms that face each other with just the fingertips touching (the fingers resemble a steeple). This is a display of confidence and self-assurance. You would see this in a lawyer or chess player who just found a way to wipe out his opponent.

You don’t want to over do it however, as this is a real show of power.

12. Hands on hips Akimbo

Arms on hips Akimbo This is sometimes mistaken for unfriendliness, but it’s often really just a position of readiness. This is often observed in workaholics, athletes and productive people.

Certainly sometimes this display can be a show of authority and superiority. For example, this is a gesture used by the military and law officials to show assertiveness and take control of a situation.

13. Hands in pockets

Hand in pocketsPocketed hands indicate unwillingness, mistrust and reluctance. If a person keeps his hands in his pockets, you will need to first gain his interest as well as his trust.

Even if someone tries to hide what he’s really thinking, his hand signals can tell you the truth. If you are sensitive to the language of his hands, you can make an appropriate course of action and even get a good response.

Now, pay attention to your own hands too. Consciously use gestures that will get your message across, especially those that will help you build alliances and influence people.

QUESTION: Did I miss a hand body language pattern? Let me know in the comments and I’ll tell you what it means!

   
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2017-05-01T18:29:20+00:00

About the Author:

I'm a web optimization & conversion consultant - I help my clients (some in the Fortune 500) generate more revenue for their business. Mostly, I get more of their visitors to convert on their website.I've launched and sold 2 startups - I've been working online for 15 years and have started from scratch - and then sold - two fast-growing websites: a leading gaming information portal and an online advertising network.Read 10 things about me - including being a body language coach to a World Champion of Poker and singing in a KISS cover band (pics included) - here.

132 Comments

  1. Kaypadden May 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    Very interesting Nic.

  2. Sunildil05 November 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Very Good and Thanks a lot.

  3. […] to mention, body language says it all.  The only hand gestures he used throughout his speech were choppy, indicating authority.   When he made eye contact, he was frowning, with the right side of his face angled down.  No […]

  4. Mr. Me October 3, 2013 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Most of these interpretations make sense. I have to admit I am surprised that you are a professional in deception. I’ve always had negative perceptions of deception, but i realize it could be a valuable skill.

  5. Frustrated reader January 4, 2014 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Your website is extraordinarily difficult to read on my iPad. The stupid, annoying Facebook, twitter floating menu bar covers everything you presented me to read.

    • Nicolas Fradet May 20, 2015 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      Apologies for this, I’ll try to get that fixed!

      • Mohamed Hassan June 19, 2016 at 8:57 pm - Reply

        Hello, I don’t know if u forgot or even someone mentioned it here before me but what the both arms folded on or below the chest

      • makis August 13, 2016 at 11:18 pm - Reply

        Hi Nicolas! Loved the article. I would like to know what to do when someone instead of saying thank you, put their hands together as in prayer and make a little reverence. I don’t know if I should say: “you are more than welcome”, or play back the same gesture. MJ

        • Kara January 29, 2017 at 10:15 pm - Reply

          The bow itself has a lot of different interpretations. If you don’t know what you’re doing with the bow, just show gratitude the way YOU know to show it. They’re doing it their way and will respect you doing it your way.

      • Tootsie July 6, 2017 at 4:01 pm - Reply

        I have the same problem on my android tablet..

  6. Colomba August 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Sorry, I do not agree on the “Steepling” hands.
    For me it is exactly the opposite of self confidence. On the contrary it means that the speaker does not master the subject he/ she is talking about because of a lack of knowledge on that subject. It is the sign of a deep insecurity, not of confidence! Many politicians use it.

    • Nicolas Fradet November 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      Hi Colomba,

      The reason meany politicians use it it exactly because it send a strong image and they’ve been coached to do it! Note that does not mean they know their subject! 🙂

    • Derek August 3, 2017 at 1:46 am - Reply

      I do agree with you in this Colomba. However, people nowadays use to send a message of false confidence. Many people use this technique to inject into the audience that they are confident, sure, or secure of what they talking about, but they are not, they simply know that deceiving gesture to convince the people that for sure they know what they are talking about…
      Getting advantage of this is to send that message to people that ” know” this (For “they know” that you are indeed confidence, but you are not) and they will fall into that trap. And because they “trust you”, get the sale.
      People use it againt people that know, and dont of this techniques to sell things, or people in the case of politicans.
      … So yeah, is to get advantage of the people, it really means: How to proyect a false confidence to people.

  7. Colomba August 21, 2014 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    And the Hands on Hip is mainly people trying to appear ” bigger” larger” than they are; showing a size they don’t have… Has nothing to do with authority or power. A fake…

    • Karen June 29, 2016 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      This “Hands on Hip” is a classic model pose that many women utilize to make themselves appear more slender. The broader shoulder/elbow wings create the allusion of a smaller waist.

  8. Mr Kofy March 11, 2015 at 4:31 am - Reply

    Learned a lot here. Makes so much sense!

  9. alejodelatorre@hotmail.com.ar May 18, 2015 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    Hi Nicolas. Meaning of
    Hands holding crossed legs of a seated person.?
    🙂 jaja
    ALEJO

    • Nicolas Fradet May 20, 2015 at 8:24 pm - Reply

      Hi Alejo,

      Anytime a person crosses parts (legs, arms) and holds on to themselves, it usually signifies some sort of anxiety and discomfort.

      Cheers,

      Nicolas

  10. Yvonne May 27, 2015 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    I saw someones hands folded with the two thumbs and pinkies touching. Similar to Steepling but all fingers crossed except the thumb and pinky.

    thanx.

    • Linda...~*~... November 24, 2016 at 6:17 am - Reply

      I do that, especially at the dentist, over my navel while lying back. To me it is protective/guarded but still going with the flow. Suspicious or distrusting but willing to give things a chance. Closed off, but still open until a conclusion/decision is made.

  11. Coralie June 8, 2015 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Hi.my name is Coralie I’m in a relationship and my partner shows a lot off body languages that I have picked up like hiding his hands when he sits down and rubbing his feet up and down and putting his hands in his pockets and folding his arms I just wanna know what does that mean.

    • Nicolas Fradet June 9, 2015 at 10:40 pm - Reply

      Hi Coralie,

      Without proper context, it’s really hard to say.

      These gestures could mean he’s totally relaxed just like they could mean he’s closing himself off and is nervous.

      Nicolas

  12. Darlene Roberts June 16, 2015 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Prison worker (now a prisoner herself for helping two murderers escape in NY) can be seen onlinebin shackles that keep her hands apart, and shebis walking with guards and both of her hands are clinging to the material of her black and white striped prison pants. What does this signify?

  13. Randall E. Howard June 24, 2015 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your insightfulness.
    Most of the gesture meanings; I was totally unaware of.

    Q: Why does an orator/speaker (during 85% of his presentation); maintain his left hand in his left-hand pant pocket?

    Q: Does it matter if one hand is in the pocket VS: two hands in their respective pant-pockets?

    Thank you in advance for your response.

    Cordially,
    Randall Eisenhoffer Howard

    • Alexis August 1, 2017 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      Hey, Randall!

      A1: The business classes I’ve taken have all suggested to point during a presentation with your right hand. Some people (including myself) have a hard time with this, so they are instructed to keep their left hands in their pockets. This is to keep them from crossing their arm over their body and potentially preventing people on their left side from seeing. It is also a way to show that they are relaxed and they know what they are talking about!

      A2: Two hands in the pockets, as Nicholas pointed out in a few other replies, usually signifies unease.

      I hope this information helped!
      ~Alexis

  14. Chandler Armstrong July 11, 2015 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    What about the classic arms folded or crossed over the chest. I often see people do this, and while hiding they are hiding their hands and therefore they seeming at times when they are not accepting what people say, this doesn’t always seem to be true. My working hypothesis is that when they do this will attending a lecture or presentation, that they are making some sort of judgement, or evaluating what is being talked about

    • Nicolas Fradet July 12, 2015 at 11:48 am - Reply

      Chandler,

      For many people (me included), folding your arms is a comfortable position. So many times, it’s just that people are fine and it doesn’t mean anything (like when attending a lecture or presentation). What you are looking for is something that triggers it. Again it might just be that the person is comfortable. But if you see that something that was said or done could put that person outside their comfort zone, or nervous, or angry, it can become a very valuable clue.

  15. sai July 18, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    What does falling / dropping of hands mean? Like the wrist is bent down.. like a kangaroo?

  16. Nitin Joshi July 23, 2015 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Dear Nikolas,
    Thanks for all the information.
    What does it mean when a person has his left hand in pocket and offers the right hand for a handshake?

    Regards
    Nitin

  17. Anne Bauman July 25, 2015 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    I find this picture very interesting and wonder what you think of everyone’s body language.
    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/07/24/pressure-on-stephen-harper-to-articulate-plan-for-scandal-plagued-senate.html
    Thanks!

  18. Nika August 7, 2015 at 7:28 am - Reply

    What would you describe the meaning conveyed by both hands as if holding a glass in each hand. Crescent shaped form. Then touching thumb, forefinger, middle finger and ring finger in a tapping manner. Sometimes the thumb and forefinger seem to be dominant in pressure, or heald together a moment longer than tapping/ a slight pressing. Looking at hands towards the end of the vocalized thought, or off and on during?

    • Nicolas Fradet August 17, 2015 at 7:05 pm - Reply

      Hi Nika,

      That’s called steepling, and it’s a power gesture. It’s either used when someone is very confident, or has been coached to show power.

      Nicolas

    • Mike October 17, 2016 at 10:38 pm - Reply

      I’ve seen people do this while counting, I do it when I’m running low on patience or when I want to focus deeper on something.

  19. Paul Read August 14, 2015 at 7:25 am - Reply

    Pointing index finger towards/ in the direction of an object and/or direction to go to, is that considered as bad manners? Or frowned upon as not polite?

    • Nicolas Fradet August 17, 2015 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Paul,

      That really depends on the context. Usually if you point at someine, it can be seen as impolite. But for example if you are helping out someone with directions on the street, that would be totally fine.

      Nicolas

  20. Pablo August 17, 2015 at 2:03 am - Reply

    Hay nick
    I greeted a female that I am an acquaintance with for some reason with my left hand out facing downward ( because she was very much to my left) she in return placed her right hand under mine and caressing or rubbing our hands slightly from palm to fingers…

    What did my hand language tell her?
    And what was her response telling me?
    Her paln response seemed sensual in a way, did I read that incorrectly or correctly? Or just my inagination?
    Thank you on advance

    • Nicolas Fradet August 17, 2015 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Pablo,

      It’s hard to say about the sensuality without being there. You would be the best person to know.

      Your gesture however did signal that you were in charge of the situation (you would be leading her), and she accepted to take your hand. So I would see this as a positive outcome, meaning she feels she can trust you on some level.

      Nicolas

      • Pablo August 18, 2015 at 1:58 am - Reply

        She actually didn’t take my hand though, and that’s what I’m wondering the meaning of her gesture? The gesture of placing her hand under mine, but not holding or grasping it, but her fingers caressing my palm down to my finger tips. Then away…

        • Pablo August 18, 2015 at 2:33 am - Reply

          Remember your the guru..

          • Kara January 29, 2017 at 10:33 pm

            Pablo, that’s a sign that she wants to have sex with you.

        • Mike October 17, 2016 at 10:41 pm - Reply

          She was leading you somewhere either physically or mentally.

  21. Robin August 19, 2015 at 5:41 am - Reply

    Hey Nick,

    I read your piece and all the comments but could not find a response to my question. What does it mean when someone suddenly starts rubbing their fingers of one hand into the palm of the very same hand? It almost looks like someone trying to hold sand in one palm except that there is the rubbing happening. A thought provoking conversation was going on and this person abruptly started doing this. Any ideas?

    • Kara January 29, 2017 at 10:40 pm - Reply

      Hi robin, I dare say she was experiencing feeling nervous of some kind. In reflexology, that area on the palm has the intestines, stomach, heart and adrenals… she would have been trying to calm herself by massaging it subconsciously.

  22. Susan August 25, 2015 at 5:03 am - Reply

    Hello Nicolas,
    I’m very interested in how you read knuckle cracking by individuals. I’ve observed it in different people in a way that seems like a power gesture? Is this a true read and what did it develope from?
    Thank you,
    Susan

  23. Shell September 28, 2015 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Is there a difference when someone gives you a single pat to the back of your upper shoulder using full their full palm or just their finger tips? Especially if the person doing the patting likely senses you are anxious or nervous? This occurred with a specialist (doctor) who I’ve seen four times now, maybe two to three out of the four visits. Both kinds of pats as mentioned above. And yes I do feel anxious around most doctors.

  24. Catherine October 13, 2015 at 12:14 am - Reply

    I usually find people who steeple their hands to arrogant.

  25. Dawn October 19, 2015 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    I think I know what it means, but what it is called: you clasp your hands together and then shake them over each shoulder while slightly bowing with each swing of the clasped hands to each shoulder (like the Lolli-pop Guild character in Wizard of Oz does while he’s being cheered for his Welcome song to Dorothy). Thanks!

    • Kara January 29, 2017 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      Victory. Self acknowledgment.

  26. […] Keeping your palms hidden or down at your sides can denote disinterest, shyness or deception, just like poor eye contact can. Clenched hands can be effective, but only at select times (learn more about hand gestures and what they convey). […]

  27. chandralal November 25, 2015 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    What is the meaning if a person scrubbing his other hand while talking (about a particular thing and not always talking). Is it showing his tension?

    • Mike October 17, 2016 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      Probably very nervous or just has an itchy hand lol

  28. Hands – Natasha Thomas December 30, 2015 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    […] 13 Revealing Body Language Hand Gestures […]

  29. Natalie March 2, 2016 at 12:31 am - Reply

    Hi Nicolas,
    Thank you for a very informative post. I have never been too concerned with analysing people or their tells in the past … I guess I am a late bloomer when it comes to “getting with the game”, but now it’s as a necessity – not as an advantage as I am starting to engage with business owners on their level (who have been aware of these subtleties their whole working life). I’m not writing to tell you of a “missed” hand position, more so to give you a point to ponder. The post I read (hand-body-language) did not appear to be very gender neutral. I am one who likes to type out what I read into my own shorthand version so that the content really sinks in. Whilst I was doing this with your post, the absence of one gender kept coming up – I had to keep correcting the terminology as I interpreted the lesson. To continually reach a wider audience with informative posts, it is not good to inadvertently alienate half your potential audience whilst they read an initial introduction to the content, so it is important for it to show respect to both sexes by using gender neutral terminology.

  30. Ingrid March 12, 2016 at 9:30 am - Reply

    A brother and sister are standing side by side, each holding their own hands ( the right hand is holding the left hand’s fingers, for the sister and vice versa for the brother). I’m curious to know what this means

    • Kara January 29, 2017 at 11:00 pm - Reply

      They could be military. Or from a military family. This is how we hold our hands in parade.

  31. Steve March 16, 2016 at 3:53 am - Reply

    What about someone that puts their hand half way down their paints resting the palm above the pants?

    • Kara January 29, 2017 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      Steve. Have you done it before. It’s really comfortable. I guess they might feel comfortable.

  32. Jonia March 29, 2016 at 8:37 am - Reply

    Nice article! May I know what’s the meaning of hand on collar gesture? For example, your right hand touching the collar on the left side while explaining things. Thanks!

  33. Denise April 23, 2016 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    what does it mean when you walk with others and you have your hands cupped together in front of your body?

    • Nicolas Fradet April 26, 2016 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      Hi Denise,

      It’s hard to say without context, but it could mean simply that this is a comfortable position for that person, or perhaps that he or she is uncomfortable with the discussion. It tends to depend on when they adopted that hand position. Was something said and then she did it? This could mean a discomfort.

      Nicolas

      • Sudarshan May 11, 2016 at 11:20 am - Reply

        Hi Nicolas, I have often seen few of my friends and colleagues cover their Fist fully but not tight enough unlike, the normal half moon curve. What does that mean. Is it the person is nervous or not ready to trust or ???

  34. Cynthia April 26, 2016 at 3:34 am - Reply

    Hi!

    Thanks for sharing all these informations!

    I have a question for you. I had a supervisor a few years ago, he was rubbing his right hand, either with arm in low (along the body) or high position (elbow on desk). The gesture was like when you’re at a desk, pen in the hand, elbow on the desk, hand high, rubbing the pen – but without the pen. A few months later, he quit. The next supervisor after a certain time did the exact same thing and a few months later he also quit.

    What does this mean?

    Thanks in advance

    • Nicolas Fradet April 26, 2016 at 12:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Cynthia,

      Hard to say without seeing it live, but this often means a certain discomfort or heighten level of stress.

      (any type of self-massaging/self-rubbing is often that)

      Cheers,

      Nicolas

      • Cynthia Colasanto October 6, 2016 at 8:56 pm - Reply

        Thank you very much. I found it very interesting.
        How about if a man is constantly moving and bending his fingers, particularly his index fingers and thumbs. Also hands always in crotch area.

  35. Nicolo April 30, 2016 at 6:00 am - Reply

    Pure bullshit.

  36. Barbara May 3, 2016 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    What about the gesture Donald Trump uses with thumb and forefinger together like an ok sign? And what does it mean when a person rests the chin on partially closed hand as Hillary did when she was being asked about Benghazi?

    • Nicolas Fradet May 15, 2016 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Barbara,

      I’d have to see a picture of the gesture to make sense of it.

      Cheers,

      Nicolas

      • Nat January 15, 2017 at 10:56 pm - Reply

        What does it mean for someone to always life their chin / tilt their head up in the air, like Donald Trump?

      • Heidi February 3, 2017 at 4:12 am - Reply

        I’m pretty sure Barbara is asking about something I was also curious about. You can see Trump do this in his videotaped speech at the National Prayer breakfast 2/2/17. Time put together a clip of various things he said, and you can see that here: http://time.com/4657913/donald-trump-apprentice-prayer-breakfast-schwarzenegger/?xid=time_socialflow_facebook

        There’s a variation of the gesture (even odder to me) at 41 seconds

        Then the gesture she mentions at 51 seconds
        Same gesture at 1:04.

        Trump uses this gesture a lot, and it’s odd to me but the 41 second gesture is even odder.

    • David March 28, 2017 at 2:18 am - Reply

      Hillary’s chin on hand was a combination utter boredom and disgust coming from an arrogant and self-important attitude (how dare these underlings question me!)

      Trump with the OK position is a corollary to the steepling gesture. Confident in what he’s saying and trying to get you to agree with him.

      • Alexis August 1, 2017 at 2:48 pm - Reply

        You sure? I do that when I’m listening intently.

  37. Connie May 15, 2016 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    What about when someone is speaking to you, looking down at their hands while they are rubbing the tips of, say, their left fingers with their right hand? Does that signify anything?

    • Nicolas Fradet May 15, 2016 at 11:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Connie,

      Without any context it can be hard to say, but typically any type of “self-rubbing” means a higher level of stress or anxiety.

      Cheers,

      Nicolas

  38. Waynell May 20, 2016 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    I notice Donald Trump consistently curling his index fingers or touching index fingesr to thumbs while motioning with his hands. Just wondering if there was any study showing such motioning to signify underlying meaning.

    • Linda...~*~... November 24, 2016 at 6:53 am - Reply

      Bad news, disturbing.
      As I watched this video, I couldn’t help but notice Trump’s continual usage of the same hand signal, the illuminati 666 sign (TIPS of index and thumb together while remaining figures point up or outwards) he did it so much it hit me.
      https://youtu.be/v1yTYR3isi8
      Something just became blatantly obvious to me. Look at his hand signals. Everytime he does the 666 sign (index finger touches thumb while three fingers point up/outward) listen to those words spoken at the same time. It acts like an antidote. When he calls down the illuminati (etc) he signals the 666! Letting them know he is a brother. Is Trump another layer to the deception, a creation to suck ppl into believing change will happen, the wrongs righted As a means to further capture and enslave? Yikes!
      MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN….GRATE: to reduce to small shreds, rip apart; covering of a drain–not let a single soul get away.

  39. Prateek May 24, 2016 at 5:01 am - Reply

    Talking while one hand at back

  40. Prateek May 24, 2016 at 5:02 am - Reply

    What does it shows?

  41. reef May 24, 2016 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    So rubbing your arm with the opposite hand could be a mix of heightened stress levels and anticipation (rubbing)?
    Thinking of a colleague who, when approached by a new woman in the office put one arm across his chest and rubbed with his hand. I interpreted it as him being interested in this woman. Is this right?

    • Nicolas Fradet May 24, 2016 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      Reef,

      The way you describer it there would be some discomfort or anxiety. That does not mean he’s interested in her (could be), could also be that she intimidates him, he doesn’t like her all the same.

      Cheers,

      Nicolas

  42. neda June 21, 2016 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    dear mr.Fradet
    could you please let me know the published date of this article?

  43. Gladys June 26, 2016 at 4:34 am - Reply

    The way Hillary Clinton holds her hand when making a gesture. The fingers are held together kind of cupping and the palm is down.

  44. MindSpaceApocalypse July 17, 2016 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    I’ve come to the conclusion that most stuff like this doesn’t apply to me, idk uf it’s a good thing or bad thing

  45. Coralie August 10, 2016 at 7:15 am - Reply

    Hi I would like to ask what does the hands mean when.Hands are hidden under the legs.

    • Alexis August 1, 2017 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      It typically means some form of anxiety. I do it when my hands are shaking from nerves or fear. It could also mean that the person’s hands are cold.

  46. Linda August 19, 2016 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    Elbows tight at sides, shoulders raised, hands up and open to each other as talking

  47. Brenda hurwitz September 3, 2016 at 1:07 am - Reply

    Yes, you missed the hand gesture, when a person speaks and holds his hands together, example: palms touching together and fingers inbetween each other making both hands closed. What does this hand gesture means?

  48. am September 5, 2016 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    this good but what i do that time . then I’ll talk in my office.? and my friend that time how to control my hand ?

  49. Giz September 7, 2016 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    What does it mean when a man plays with his left ring finger? He is divorced and dating but nothing serious.

    • Alexis August 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm - Reply

      He probably misses the weight of the ring, or isn’t used to it not being there. I know when I lost my ring, I felt naked without it because it was constantly on my hand for almost three years. I did the same thing because it felt like something was missing, and I wasn’t used to how light my hand felt without it.

  50. bg September 8, 2016 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    What does it mean when Hillary Clinton has both arms outstretched with palms up and fingers spread open? She does this all the time when speaking behind a podium.

    • das Aardvark September 17, 2016 at 1:55 am - Reply

      It is a well practiced gesture by a totally dishonest individual, trying to convince you that he/she is the next thing to a benevolent angel, when in fact they are as full of the feces of sin as Satan can cram them! A whole lot of wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing preachers use the same gesture, and it is a favorite of 99.99% of all Liberal politicians and about 99.98% of all Conservative politicians.

      My authority? 73 years of watching slimy as hell wolves-in-sheep”s-clothing preachers and Liberal and Conservative politicians. For edification, the only difference between a Liberal politician and a Conservative politician is which side of the slippery slope (left or right) he/she serves the will of Satan from. [You claim to be a Christian? Jesus told you to beware of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Scribes. Today we call them Democrats, Republicans, and bureaucrats.]

  51. Jps September 18, 2016 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    My pastor rubs the outside of his hand with the other hand and vise versa in front of his chest while he talks.

  52. Jay September 23, 2016 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    Dear Mr. Fradet, what does it mean when a person sort of embrace themselves, I’ll explain myself, as when you put your arms around yourself. This happened after a very vulnerable situation and the person is a young adult man. Thanks in advance for the reply

    • Alexis August 1, 2017 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      He is trying to hold himself together. It’s a way to combat anxiety or fear. Sometimes when a person feels alone or vulnerable, they will do this. Especially if they are suffering from a broken heart (be that from a significant other or from a loss). It is a way to ‘keep yourself glued together’ despite the hard situation. Some people will attempt a smile while doing this to show that they are okay, when in all reality they are not.

  53. joel September 27, 2016 at 6:07 am - Reply

    Hi nec,
    amph, how about putting a hands behind the head while talking to someone.
    What does it mean? any idea?

  54. loretta October 7, 2016 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    What does hand over fist mean

    • Scott October 10, 2016 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      It relates to the practice of climbing a rope hand over hand. This soon became known as hand over fist, with the fist being the hand gripping the rope.

  55. Melissa October 11, 2016 at 6:48 am - Reply

    Loved the article! Can you tell me what it means when women hold their purses with both hands in front of their groin? I’m curious about the photo with the Trump family on a stage. All the women are doing it in the photo. One is clutching her wrist with the other hand. Thank you!! ?

    • Pam September 17, 2017 at 9:20 am - Reply

      They are shielding their privates.

  56. Άννα October 12, 2016 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    πολύ ενδιαφέρον το άρθρο και διαφωτιστικό! ευχαριστούμε! θα ήθελα να ρωτήσω για μια συνήθεια που έχω και την κάνω συνέχεια χωρίς καν να το καταλαβαίνω. με τα χέρια μου τρίβω κυκλικά τους μηρούς μου, σπάνια και κάθετα. σημαίνει κάτι αυτό? θα ήθελα πολύ να μάθω! ευχαριστώ εκ των προτέρων!

  57. sugarbum October 14, 2016 at 8:52 am - Reply

    What about when people clasp their hands together in front of the groin region and kind of just rest it there…?

  58. Shelly Compton October 14, 2016 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    What about Trump’s finger that is seen so often pointing up?

    • Pam September 17, 2017 at 9:21 am - Reply

      Authoritarian, unwilling to listen to others.

  59. Karen November 7, 2016 at 8:06 am - Reply

    I can not find this anywhere on the internet. What does it mean if somebody rubs their thumb and ring finger delicately? Is it evaluation perhaps? It could also be the index finger (closer to the body, meaning money or feeling?) Or the middle finger (normally rolling a small object between thumb and middle finger) Or pinkie (discussing something trivial?)

  60. cindy November 11, 2016 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    I’ve always been tuned in to body language and hand gestures. I’ve noticed for years how
    often politicians used them. Years ago there was a book written by a man in England about
    hand gesture language and it explained the meanings. It went out of print and never was
    reprinted again.

    • Pam September 17, 2017 at 9:22 am - Reply

      You can do it yourself. You don’t need a book. Just start observing people, watch yourself talk while looking in a mirror, stuff like that. Watch what little kids do when they talk or interact.

  61. lorraine November 14, 2016 at 4:46 am - Reply

    What does prayer shape but facing down mean please

  62. lorraine November 14, 2016 at 4:47 am - Reply

    What does hands together with all fingers crossed mean please

  63. Mary December 14, 2016 at 3:27 am - Reply

    what about palms down, both hands, just above waist level, moving hands from side to side (with thumbs towards each other but not touching such as together, apart, together) while talking to someone about someone else?

  64. Fluk December 18, 2016 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    Thank you very much for your article, it is very useful.

  65. LilTeacher December 28, 2016 at 7:27 am - Reply

    What does it mean when in a large family gathering gathered together in a circle to say the blessing, a man deliberately extends the index and third finger for clasping to the women on either side of him rather than an open hand like everyone else?

    • Pam September 17, 2017 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Deception. Or could be shyness. Or maybe he’s scared of germs.

  66. Donn Knox January 8, 2017 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Always bear in mind that many of these gestures depend on several factors, context, ethnicity, gender, level of awareness of them, and manipulation of them for duplicity. A Scandinavian would have a different range to a Latin, or an Oriental. They can be learned with practice, and so misused for advantage. It would not apply to contrived images, such as fashion shows or art-works. The artist would of course be using them to suit his purpose, and so are not a natural occurrence. It is only in identifying a genuine, spontaneous reaction that your definitions might apply. An interesting subject, wide open to interpretation, but closed to denial.

  67. Ajit January 9, 2017 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    It was very interesting to read your body language signs article. I agree that this is a hard skill to master, but in the long run it can bring about great benefits. Being able to read people in real life lets you take control of situations you place yourself in.

  68. Fabio January 11, 2017 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I have observed that scientists, researchers and some nerds have this type of posture in articles on scientific journals or everyday newspaper. Even without knowing the persons are left-handed or not I have noticed that aspect: sometimes they hold left wrist sometimes they hold right wrist. What is intended feeling comunicated with such a pose?

    • Pam September 17, 2017 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Uneasy around other people. Introverted.

  69. Sue January 28, 2017 at 12:49 am - Reply

    Meaning: A ‘sort of’ OK sign with the fingers rigid and a distinct back and forth, rocking motion of the wrist, while speaking to an audience?

  70. Abe February 13, 2017 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    I believe you missed the hands on chin gesture and tapping with fingers.

  71. Martha February 16, 2017 at 1:41 am - Reply

    What does it mean when a man puts the side of his thumb in his lips and maybe even pinch with his teeth and his fingers up resting on his temple with fingers a little spread?

    Thank You Nicolas

  72. Jim February 26, 2017 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Hi, Nick. I often see women’s profile pictures on dating sites, in which they’re posing with their hands on their hips in the classic “expectant or hoping ” posture, but with the index finger on one or even both hands erect and pointing upward. Sometimes they do this with arms crossed in front of them, but not in a self-protective manner (ie – not hugging themselves), as if trying to emphasize a gesture. They could be smiling, smoky-eyed or both. I have seen this with many different types and ethnicity but mostly in Asian and (interestingly enough) Latina women. I suspect I know what they are trying to “say”, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions. have run searches on the gesture, wording the description differently, but keep getting results showing what I already know about every similar gesture, but not the ones I’m trying to understand. Anybody have any thoughts?

  73. Emily roth March 7, 2017 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Please identify what’s being said when hands are out, 10 inches apart, palms are up, like trying to catch something falling from the sky

  74. moha April 1, 2017 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    thank you for sharing all these informatio.
    I have seen a picture of some classmates, these young ladies were taking a photo of their hands, among them there was one she was crossing her fingers the index and the middle fingers, wht this could mean.Thank you in advance

  75. Arthur Thomas April 6, 2017 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Trump does this frequently when he is unhappy in an interview and I am curious about it. Thumb to thumb, fingertips to fingertips, a wide gap between the palms, and the fingers are pointing down. I can guess about a Freudian interpretation, but is there more to it?

  76. Pat April 7, 2017 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    Can you tell me what it may mean when you make a comment and the other person, shares his hand back and forth?

  77. NombresarioVicki Glez May 1, 2017 at 6:40 am - Reply

    Buenos días, qué significa meter el pulgar en el bolsillo con los demás dedos afuera?

  78. Boone May 14, 2017 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Thanks Nic, i have observed people faced with a broken down vehicle, if they are not mechanically inclined, they will just stand there perplexed,
    will put their thumb and forefinger on the chin “pondering what to do”, or “wonder what can be done to fix it”. I think it is a common thing we do when we are “thinking where exactly to start” on a large project or involved task? Just like the statue of “the thinker”, LOL!
    Interesting read with comments included. I didn’t realize there are very many that we see and do, some we understand when people do them, and some we dont realize or take for granted. GOD bless you.

  79. JCB June 27, 2017 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    IArms crossed? Irritates the fire out of me when my husband does it while we are having a discussion. Makes me feel like he is unhappy, unwilling to listen to my ideas, and emotionally closed off. We’ve discussed it many times and he’s says it is “just a comfortable way”. I don’t know if it is a listening gesture or what it means. Also. When others see him sittin or standing that way, they ask me if he is mad.

  80. Parvez July 5, 2017 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Nicolas, What about placing the palm flat on your stomach while standing and talking?

  81. jenny simpson July 14, 2017 at 8:12 am - Reply

    Very interesting and made a lot of sense what does in mean when someone is always hitting you on the arm when they speak to you my sister does it all the time

  82. Sue Young July 27, 2017 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    A few months back. I noticed I was holding my hands in a way you would associate with religious folk – at waist level with one hand loosely cupped in the other -both palm upmost – and with the thumbs loosely crossed across the uppermost palm. I was doing it entirely without realising it and it was rather irritating me every time I’d realised I’d done it. A friend commented on it eventually and said it showed I was very contented and at peace with the world. This is true, and a contrast to how things had been for ages. Then I remembered long ago that placing your hands like that deliberately when you were stressed or apprehensive would help to calm you down.

  83. bobbi September 28, 2017 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    When my husband touches my face he doesn’t use his fingertips. He does it with the back of his fingers. What does this mean?

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