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kinesics

Definition of Kinesics

(noun) The study of non-verbal body movements such as facial expressions and gestures as a means of communication.

Example of Kinesics

Etymology of Kinesics

  • Coined by Ray Birdwhistell (1918–1994) in 1952.

Kinesics Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: ki·ne·sics

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /kuh-nEE-siks/
  • British English – /kie-nEE-siks/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /kəˈnisɪks/
  • British English – /kᵻˈniːsɪks/

Usage Notes

  • A kinemes is the smallest unit of movement, similar to morphemes or phonemes.
  • Also called:
    • nonvocal communication
    • pasimology
  • Informally called body language.

Additional Information

Related Terms


Works Consulted

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

Cite the Definition of Kinesics

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “kinesics.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved August 4, 2020 (https://sociologydictionary.org/kinesics/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

kinesics. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/kinesics/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “kinesics.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed August 4, 2020. https://sociologydictionary.org/kinesics/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“kinesics.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 4 Aug. 2020. <https://sociologydictionary.org/kinesics/>.