What is the verb for "pointing at someone or something with one's chin (or head for that matter)", if there is one word for it?

  • 1
    I don't know a word for it, but you can use this type of sentence construction: "He indicated which car he meant with a nod (or tilt) of his head." "His eyes darted to the side to indicate something odd was going on with the person standing next to him." "He raised his chin to point out a sign near the door that prohibited smoking on the premises." Et cetera. Oct 21, 2016 at 17:46
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    @MarkHubbard I know, right? This is exactly what I am trying to compact… There should be a single word for a gesture this common. "nodding" is the best I could muster, but it is usually means agreeing, and one can hardly "nod defiantly"…
    – Lew
    Oct 21, 2016 at 17:53
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    If it doesn't exist already (dunno), coin chin for that: She chinned toward the tree behind which the culprit was hiding.
    – Drew
    Oct 21, 2016 at 20:43
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    @Adamawesome4 I did not make any suggestions, I am as clueless as they get. But I cannot imagine neither "direct" nor "indicate" in the following sentence as a single word: “You were here, when all this happened, were you not?” He asked, ******* at the ruined entrance.
    – Lew
    Oct 21, 2016 at 23:27
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    @Lew: Zillions. The word needs to be used by people. Requests to add a word that is not used are no doubt useless (as they should be).
    – Drew
    Oct 21, 2016 at 23:52

6 Answers 6


to move your head once in a particular direction, for example to make someone look at something or to give someone a signal to do something

nod towards/in the direction of: ‘They’re having fun’, she said, nodding towards the kids on the beach.



"Motioning (at)" includes "pointing at someone or something with one's head".


motion verb
: to make a movement of your hand, head, etc., that tells someone to move or act in a certain way

She motioned to her assistant.
She motioned at the empty chair beside her and told me to sit down.

  • 3
    Good one, but too broad when used as a single verb…
    – Lew
    Oct 21, 2016 at 18:15

I prefer michael.hor257k 's answer, but another possibility would be to gesture


  1. a movement or position of the hand, arm, body, head, or face that is expressive of an idea, opinion, emotion, etc.

(Emphasis mine; quote from Dictionary.com.)

  • 3
    Same as "motion"—too broad, if used as a single verb. And since 99% of humans gesture with their hands, that is what would be assumed.
    – Lew
    Oct 21, 2016 at 21:37

I’ve always understood “nodding” to be a movement that starts from the top of the head towards the front (usually) so that nodding at something would imply downward motion of the head towards the object. Even if someone is asleep, and the head tilts backwards, I’ve always heard that motion by itself to be called tilting, especially when it is to the sides. The collective nods and tilts can be called “nodding” (as in “nod off”).

As an old time “chin pointer,” I feel that chinpointing is virtually the opposite: although it is possible to point with hope chin without moving your head, there is generally a forward thrust of the chin, and a slight backwards tilt (see?) of the head to facilitate the pointing. I’ve heard it called “chin-pointing,” as “chin thrust” implies something more aggressive.

She chinpointed towards the car: “There it is!” she said. Her companion said, “You just pointed with your chin!” “Yes, I do it all the time!” she replied. [Actual incident happening to me last week]


I think 'nodding' will have to be taken to mean both up and down motion of the chin - that would solve the problem temporarily, until someone coins a word to describe exactly that gesture of pointing with one's chin. Chin-pointing is, I feel, a clumsy compound word and can itself be subjected to further hair-splitting as 'pointing' is generally assumed to be done with the forefinger.


Don't be alarmed if you see someone in the Philippines on the street pointing their lips at someone or something. ... Instead of lifting their finger or arm, Filipinos commonly use their lips to point to an object or another person. This gesture is called nguso, and shouldn't be taken as an invitation for a kiss!

The Culture Trip: Your Guide to Filipino Gestures

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