Home of The Nonverbal Dictionary


1. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him. . . .

--F. Scott Fitzgerald, regarding Gatsby, The Great Gatsby

2. What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

3. Ninety-four percent of our communication is nonverbal, Jerry.

--Kramer, Seinfeld, January 29, 1998

4. I have always tried to render inner feelings through the mobility of the muscles. . . .

--Auguste Rodin

5. Thoughts too deep to be expressed, And too strong to be suppressed.

--George Wither, Mistress of Philarete

6. And I'll draw right here a picture of the face that drove me nvquotes mad.

7. In the glance ofthe speechless animal there is a discourse that only the soul ofthe wise can really understand.

--An Indian Poet, quoted by Kahlil Gibran

8. See how she leans her cheek upon her hand!

--Shakespeare, Macbeth, II, 2

9. Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves.

--Carlyle, Sartor Resartus

10. With just a look or a gesture . . . she would reveal to all of us . . . her compassion and her humanity.

--Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, Eulogizing Princess Diana

11. ". . . we respond to gestures with an extreme alertness and, one might almost say, in accordance with an elaborate and secret code that is written nowhere, known by none, and understood by all."

--Edward Sapir, Anthropologist (1927)

12. Nothing is often a good thing to do and always a good thing to say

--Will Durant

13. The way her belt was above her hips showed that she had not been in Paris long.

--Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

14. Whence came that bald forehead, that head always bent down, that chest always heaving with sighs?

--Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

15. Her pure, rosy lips were half smiling; her candid, serene forehead was clouded now and then by her thoughts, like a mirror which is momentarily breathed upon; and from her long, lowered eyelashes emanated a kind of ineffable light which gave her profile that ideal sweetness which Raphael was later to find at the mystic point of intersection of virginity maternity and divinity

--Victor Hugo, regarding La Esmeralda, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

16. The truest expression of a people is its dances and its music. Bodies never lie.

--Agnes de Mille

17. Silence is a text easy to misread.

--A. A. Attanasio, The Eagle and the Sword (HarperCollins)

18. To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.

--Marilyn vos Savant

19. Jerry, the throat-clear is a nonverbal indication of doubt.

--George, Seinfeld

20. It's incredible. There are no words.

--Zinedine Zidane, French team player, upon winning soccer's World Cup

21. You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.

--Sherlock Holmes to Watson, A Scandal in Bohemia

22. Depend upon it there is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace.

--Sherlock Holmes to Watson, A Case of Identity

23. Indeed, I have found that it is usually in unimportant matters that there is a field for the observation, and for the quick analysis of cause and effect which gives the charm to an investigation.

--Sherlock Holmes to Watson, A Case of Identity

24. It is my business to know things. Perhaps I have trained myself to see what others overlook.

--Sherlock Holmes, A Case of Identity

25. Bend, bend your knees! Behold the angel of God!

--Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy(Canto II)

26. As sheep come forth from the fold by one and two and three, and the rest stand timid, bending eyes and muzzle to the ground; and what the first does the others also do, huddling themselves to it if it stops, simple and quiet, and know not why; so saw I then the head ofthat happy flock move to come on, modest in countenance, in movement dignified.

--Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy(Canto III)

27. Beowulf put on his warrior's dress, had no fear for his life. His war-shirt, hand-fashioned, broad and well-worked, was to explore the mere: it knew how to cover his body-cave so that foe's grip might not harm his heart, or grasp ofangry enemy his life.


28. Haste thee nymph, and bring with thee Jest and youthful Jollity

Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles, Nods, and Becks, and wreathed Smiles, Such as hang on Hebe s cheek, And love to live in dimple sleek; Sport that wrinkled Care derides, and Laughter, holding both his sides.

--John Milton, L 'Allegro

29. Essential to a serious actor is the training and perfecting of the outer instrument-comprising his body, his voice and his speech. This instrument is the violin on which he will play.

--Uta Hagen, "Respect for Acting" (1973)

30. Her posture is crooked, her movements odd and constrained. When she has nothing to do, she stands wringing a cloth in her hands.

--Peter Weiss, "Marat/Sade"

31. She mimes all the gestures ofdeparture, but remains onstage, near the wing, looking off-stage and fixed with an attitude of departure.

--Jean Genet, "The Blacks"

32. Pause. Head back level, eyes front, pause. She clasps hands to breast, closes eyes. Lips move in inaudible prayer, say ten seconds. Lips still. Hands remain clasped. Low.

--Samuel Beckett, "Happy Days"

33. So he grew taut. His eyes were harder, his temples metallic, his facial muscles more knotted. In response, I hardened accordingly.

--Jean Genet, "The Thief's Journal"

34. There is something about her uncertain manner, as well as her white clothes, that suggests a moth.

--Tennessee Williams, "A Streetcar Named Desire"

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