I want the words to describe that gesture in which the forearm is usually held upright, and the hand is allowed to drop-limply(if that clears things up)-at the wrist.

The verbal phrase 'wave an airy hand' from somewhere in Harry Potter came to me, but I'm not sure that's an exact fit, and besides, I'd feel horrible about stealing another author's phrase for my own work...

'Bat' as in 'a careless bat of her hand' or 'she batted her hand cheerily'? I don't know...

Any help would be much appreciated; and I mean no offense to anyone.

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    I think more description is needed. Gestures fitting your description are used to imply the unimportance of whatever it is ('Don't mention it'); as a greeting; or to imply lack of masculinity. – Tim Lymington Dec 18 '13 at 13:04
  • foggedaboudit – Kris Dec 18 '13 at 13:06
  • If we can have the context of the gesture, it could help us hone in on an appropriate suggestion! :-) – Kristina Lopez Dec 18 '13 at 14:45
  • A woman using it in conversation-almost as emphasis: 'Honey! I've been there and I have seen it all!' I didn't think context would be so important though, I just wanted to describe the action... – D. M. Davidson Dec 18 '13 at 14:48
  • We still need more context. 'she batted her hand cheerily' okay. But what is the gesture signalling? Is she saying "Don't mention it", is she saying "Ooh you are awful!" Please give the lead up to the wave and say what it represents. Thanks. – chasly - reinstate Monica Oct 23 '15 at 9:56

Based on OP's additional comment for context, I'm picturing this:

"A dismissive wave of her hand said it all...it was no big deal, she'd been there, done that!"

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  • A dismissive wave is a shooing action. It can go along with expressions such as a jokey "Get away with you!" A limp wrist is much more of a 'batting' action as though lazily swatting a fly. Although the OP has accepted your answer I don't think it is correct. – chasly - reinstate Monica Oct 23 '15 at 9:59
  • My dismissive wave is not the shooing action kind - it's the limp wristed kind as the OP describes where the waver does not want a fuss made so does the limp-wristed movement to indicate a kind of 't'was nothing!' – Kristina Lopez Oct 23 '15 at 14:12
  • Then I believe your usage of the term doesn't agree with the majority. Here are a couple of videos that I found by searching for 'dismissive wave'. (1) youtube.com/watch?v=A4cPUdyL5dQ (2) 31.media.tumblr.com/b593c6e3451b901ac497c23fba30031a/… ( -- I would say that they both show a shooing or sending away movement rather than a limp wrist. – chasly - reinstate Monica Oct 23 '15 at 14:32
  • P.S. Here's a limp wrist ic.pics.livejournal.com/lizerk/53499/287905/287905_original.jpg . However the point I'm really making is that the OP has not specified what the gesture is supposed to mean. I don't see how we can answer properly until we get that information. – chasly - reinstate Monica Oct 23 '15 at 14:44

Try using the word floppy to describe a loose wrist, as in "I went to shake her hand only to find she offered me a floppy wrist." A limp-wristed handshake is also commonly called "a fish."

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    This post could be improved by adding references, such as citations to the usage you are recommending. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Dec 18 '13 at 13:56

Is it a fey flick of the wrist?

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  1. I understood 'a careless bat of her hand'. You could use that.

  2. Waving an airy hand is not an invention of JK Rowling--it's been around for a long time,e.g. The fisherman stroked his beard and waved an airy hand. "Glad to be of help. I wish you fellas luck. Flood Tide By Clive Cussler However I don't think it means what you are asking for. I read it as a 'don't mention it, it was nothing' gesture. I can do it (but not describe it) and it involves a kind of disorganized waving, not a limp wrist.

So, my answer would be to use to use the phrase you invented.

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