Vocabulary related to gestures in French

Communication doesn’t just happen orally. Words are not the only way to express yourself. People use gestures to express themselves too. In this lesson, we will learn words one can use to talk about gestures in French. Use this vocabulary to talk in French fluently.

1. Cligner des yeux

Meaning:when you blink you close and then open your eyes quickly once or several times

English: blink

Example: Elle peut cligner ses yeux plusieurs fois en une minute.. (She can blink several times in a minute.)

2. Applaudir

Meaning: the sound of people clapping their hands repeatedly to show enjoyment or approval of something such as a performance or speech:

English: applause

Example: Sa prestation a été saluée par une salve d’applaudissements. (His performance was honoured by a round of applause.)

3. Éviter le regard

Meaning: If you avoid eye contact with someone, you deliberately do not look straight at them because you feel awkward or embarrassed.

English:  avoid eye contact

Example: Mon amie évite le regard après avoir cassé mon vase. (My friend is avoiding eye contact after she broke my vase.)

4. Croiser les bras

Meaning: to bring your arms close to your chest and hold them together

English:  fold one’s arms

Example: Les étudiants ont été invités à croiser les bras et à se tenir ensemble dans une file d’attente. (The students were asked to fold their arms and stand together in a queue.)

5. Froncer les sourcils

Meaning: to bring your eyebrows together so that there are lines on your face above your eyes, often while turning the corners of your mouth downwards, showing that you are annoyed, worried, sad, or thinking hard

English: frown

Example: Mes parents froncent toujours les sourcils en fin de soirée. (My parents always frown on late nights out.)

6. Glousser

Meaning: to laugh repeatedly in a quiet but uncontrolled way, often at something silly or rude or when you are nervous

English: giggle

Example: J’ai désespérément combattu l’envie de glousser quand mon ami était réprimandé. (I desperately fought the urge to giggle when my friend was being scolded.)

7. Prendre dans ses bras

Meaning: to hold someone close to your body with your arms, usually to show that you like, love, or value them

English:  hug

Example: Elle a pris sa mère dans ses bras lorsqu’elle l’a rencontrée après une longue période. (She hugged her mom when she met her after a long time.)


Meaning: to smile while making sounds with your voice that show you think something is funny or you are happy

English: laugh

Example: Elle ne pouvait pas arrêter de rire après avoir écouté ses blagues. (She couldn’t stop laughing after listening to his jokes.)

9. Faire une grimace

Meaning :to make a strange expression with your face, for example to show that you do not like someone or something

English: make a face

Example: Ma sœur a fait une grimace au goût du médicament. (My sister made a face at the taste of the medicine.)

10. Faire la bise

Meaning: saying goodbye to friends and family with a sweet (nonromantic) exchange of kiss on the cheek

English: to give somebody a kiss on the cheek 

Example: Les températures atteindront 85 degrés ce soir. (Temperatures will reach 85 degrees tonight.)

11.Montrer du doigt

Meaning to show the position or direction of something by extending a finger or other pointed object towards it

English: to point at

Example: Ma fille a montré du doigt la robe qu’elle voulait que j’achète pour elle.

 (My daughter pointed at the dress she wanted me to buy for her.)

12. Tirer la langue

Meaning: to make a rude or funny sign by putting the tongue outside the mouth

English: stick out your tongue

Example: Les petits enfants ont l’habitude de tirer la langue à leurs amis. (Small children have a habit of sticking their tongues out to their friends..) 

13. Frapper 

Meaning: a forceful hit with a fist 

English: to punch

Example: Elle a frappé son frère sur le nez. (She punched her brother on the nose.) 

14. Serrer la main (à quelqu’un)

Meaning:If two people shake hands, they greet each other or say goodbye by briefly joining hands and moving them slightly up and down:

English: to shake hands

Example: Elle n’arrivait pas à croire qu’elle venait de serrer la main de l’un de ses acteurs préférés. (She couldn’t believe she had just shaked hands with one of her favourite actors.) 

15. Gifler

Meaning: to hit someone or something with the flat part of the hand

English: to slap

Example: Elle a donné une gifle à son fils pour s’être mal conduit.(She gave her son a slap for behaving badly..)

I hope you enjoyed learning words related to the gestures in French. For more such French vocabulary, keep reading our blog. You can easily learn French online with us. Stay tuned for more interesting blogs.