How do you call a gesture of spreading one's hands and turning them palms up to suggest a question? As in "what did you just do, man? That was so weird that left me speechless, so I had to raise my hands to show you I'm asking you stuff" or "Huh?"

  • 1
    How about a questioning gesture? Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 17:18
  • Here's your chance to coin one! Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 17:21
  • 2
    Closest single word would be "shrug" ?
    – mgb
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 18:17
  • @mgb, shrug is a gesture but it's not necessarily made with one's hands, could also be with the shoulders
    – Lson
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 18:19

2 Answers 2


A common phrase for a questioning gesture is "spreading his hands". If emphatic, the phrase might become "spreading his hands wide".

"How should I know where he went?" he asked, spreading his hands wide.


As with most complex situations, there is no single word in English for the gesture that you are describing. Instead, a multiword description of what you mean, perhaps as you have just done, is how one talks about it.

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