I want to describe this motion with words. What would be the concise way?

(Actually it's this motion but with the hands closer to the lap than the face but that's not very important)

enter image description here

  • When done near the face like this, it has a connotation of dark contemplation. (scheming) If done near the lap, I'm not sure. I'd have to see it on context. It might have a different meaning. – TecBrat Nov 14 '14 at 11:44
  • Somewhat tangental, but another scheming gesture is "dry washing" - rubbing one's hands together, as a villain would do while saying "it's all going to plan…" – MachineElf Nov 14 '14 at 15:08
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    I think I've heard the phrase "tented his hands". – Hot Licks Nov 14 '14 at 16:53
  • I can't decide if that's Peter Dinklage or the bad guy from Superman II... – Mazura Nov 14 '14 at 20:04

Steepled is the term.

It is more widely understood as "steepled fingers" rather than "steepled hands" though.

  • 4
    I've always called it "Mr Burns hands", after the Simpsons character. Now that I know there's a proper word for it, I'm not sure I want to abandon my reference :( – Polynomial Nov 14 '14 at 11:16
  • Hello, @Polynomial It is nice to see you around here! Mr. Burns was #3 in Google image search for steepled hands ;O) – Ellie Kesselman Nov 15 '14 at 10:52
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    This is the right term. See body language project for more info on why this is not a rapport-building thing to dk with others – Ahmed Nov 15 '14 at 21:30
  • I’ve never heard “steepled” and have only heard “tented” for this. I suspect region may be a factor. I’m writing from a predominantly AmE background. – Tyler James Young Nov 18 '14 at 21:35
  • @TylerJamesYoung The source for my 2nd link is the New York State Association of Counties (definitely AmE ;O). – Ellie Kesselman Nov 23 '14 at 4:21

Tented hands or tented fingers.

Here is a Slate.com blog post with this caption and image:

enter image description here

How did finger-tenting become a symbol of evil?

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