ESL Vocabulary Words for Body Movements
By Kenneth Beare │ThoughtCo│3 min
There are a number of verbs that used to express body movements. These are movements made with a specific part of the body. Here are some examples:
He clapped his hands in time to the music.
Stop scratching that would. It’ll never heal!
Nod once for ‘yes’ and twice for ‘no’.
She whistled a tune as she walked down the street.
The following chart provides each verb indicating the part of the body used to make the movement, as well as providing an ESL definition and an example for each verb.
Verbs Used with Body Movements
|blink||eyes||wink the eye; close eye rapidly without conscious effort; link wink but not intended||He blinked rapidly as he tried to see in the bright sun.|
|glance||eyes||a quick look at something or someone||He glanced at the documents and gave his OK.|
|stare||eyes||a long penetrating look at something or someone||He stared at the painting on the wall for over ten minutes.|
|wink||eye||close eye rapidly with a conscious effort; like blink but intended||He gave me a wink to signal that he understood.|
|point||finger||spot or show something with the finger||He pointed to his friend in the crowd.|
|scratch||finger||scrape the skin||If something itches then you probably need to scratch it.|
|kick||foot||strike with the foot||He kicked the ball into the goal.|
|clap||hands||applaud||The audience clapped enthusiastically at the end of the concert.|
|punch||hands||to strike with a fist||Boxers try to knock out their opponents by punching them in the face.|
|shake||hands||move back and forth; greeting when seeing someone||He shook the present to see if he could understand what was inside.|
|slap||hands||strike with an open hand||Don’t ever slap a child, no matter how angry you become.|
|smack||hands||similar to slap||He smacked the table hard to emphasize the point he had just made.|
|nod||head||to move the head up and down||He nodded his approval of what the candidate was saying as he was listening.|
|shake||head||to move the head from side to side||He shook his head violently to show his disagreement with what she was saying.|
|kiss||lips||touch with the lips||He sweetly kissed his wife as they toasted their fiftieth wedding anniversary.|
|whistle||lips / mouth||make a sound by blowing air through the lips||He whistled his favorite tune as he drove to work.|
|eat||mouth||to introduce food into the body||He usually eats lunch at noon.|
|mutter||mouth||to speak softly, often in a manner which is hard to understand||He muttered something about how difficult his boss was and went back to work.|
|talk||mouth||to speak||They spoke about old times and the fun they had had together as children.|
|taste||mouth||to perceive flavor with the tongue||He tasted the vintage wine with relish.|
|whisper||mouth||to speak softly, usually without voice||He whispered his secret into my ear.|
|breathe||mouth||to respire; take air into the lungs||Just breathe that wonderful morning air. Isn’t it fantastic!|
|smell||nose||to sense through the nose; to give scent||Roses smell wonderful.|
|sniff||nose||short inhalation, often to smell something||He sniffed the various perfumes and decided on Joy No. 4.|
|shrug||shoulder||raise the shoulders, usually to show indifference to something||He shrugged when I asked him to explain why he had arrived late.|
|bite||mouth||grip with the teeth and introduce into the mouth||He took a big bite out of the fresh apple.|
|chew||mouth||grind food with the teeth||You should always chew your food thoroughly before swallowing.|
|stub||toe||strike one’s toe into something||He stubbed his toe on the door.|
|lick||tongue||draw tongue across something||He licked his ice-cream cone contentedly.|
|swallow||throat||send down the throat, usually food and drink||He swallowed his food even though he wasn’t hungry.|
Body Movements Quiz
Use one of the verbs from the chart to fill in the gap for each of these sentences. Be careful with verb conjugation.