What do you call the gesture whereby you rest your palms, the front of your fist, or your wrist on the side of your hips?

Kind of like these examples:
Woman with left hand on left hip and sword in right hand. Man with hands on hips.

Update: Guess I should've made it clear: I did Google "hands on hips gesture". I didn't get a concrete source to back it up, so I went ask here.

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  • And then there's puts her hands in her back pockets Bette Davis style Desolation Row. Front pockets?. Betty Davis style. – Drew Nov 10 at 18:05
up vote 83 down vote accepted

Arms "akimbo" is a term I have heard used referring to two hands on the waist.

From dictionary.com:

adjective, adverb

with hand on hip and elbow bent outward

  • 1
    I've never heard this before. I only associate the word "akimbo" with "legs". But a quick bit of research confirms you're right, so +1. – AndyT Nov 7 at 11:25
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    In the OP's first photo, only one arm is akimbo, and I've never heard arms akimbo used for just one arm. However, Googling finds a number of hits for "left [right, one] arm akimbo," and the meaning is perfectly clear, so I'd say you should go ahead and use it like this. – Peter Shor Nov 7 at 13:49
  • @Chappo This one was easy to check so I did it myself, and it appears to be exactly what I'm looking for. Good pointer from the answer. – Vun-Hugh Vaw Nov 7 at 14:08
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    Really? I've only ever hear the second definition ("(of other limbs) flung out widely or haphazardly.") used. This is weird. – user2168 Nov 7 at 17:08
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    As a side note, holding guns akimbo means dual wielding them (sometimes with your elbows bent outside). The Borderlands franchise makes use of this term. – Ian Nov 8 at 14:29

It's called.... "putting your hands on your hips", or possibly the "hands-on-hips pose".

Google gives me 1.9m hits for "hands on hips".


Notes on the google result:

  • I've used quote marks, to ensure that the three words appeared in that order with no intervening words
  • This shows that the three words occur in sequence very frequently. This suggests (although unfortunately doesn't prove) that there isn't a widely accepted single word or simpler phrase
  • Compare for example, a description of a salute, which could be "hand at head", "hand by head" or "hand beside head" giving 61000, 19000 and 159 results respectively. These phrases aren't common, because the word "salute" exists and gets used instead.
  • Because "hands on hips" is simply describing what is being done, rather than being a set phrase, normal resources like dictionaries don't have it as an entry, so these can't be used as evidence to support this answer. I've checked Cambridge and Merriam-Webster.
  • 7
    Yeah, just what I need. Googling something, get the exact thing word for word I'm supposed to look for without knowing for sure if it's the thing I'm looking for. I guess I should start putting "Google gives me about 2m hits" in my Wikipedia footnotes from now on. Reminds me of all those times Google searches never failed me. – Vun-Hugh Vaw Nov 7 at 14:04
  • @Vun-HughVaw - Yep, not the most convincing reference to back me up I suppose! I just couldn't think of any other way to justify it, it's not like the word "akimbo" for which a dictionary is the obvious choice. – AndyT Nov 7 at 14:24
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    For what it's worth, "hand(s)-on-hip(s)" is definitely the term I would use for this - I think it's in much more common everyday use than "akimbo". – DaveMongoose Nov 8 at 12:36
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    I think the Google search for "hands on hips" is not really representative -- you wouldn't say that in ordinary speech or writing; rather, it would be "with his hands on his hips", replacing "his" with the appropriate name or pronoun. – ajd Nov 8 at 17:30
  • @ajd - Good point. "hands on her hips" adds another 2.9m instances, and "hands on his hips" adds 1.6m. Will edit my answer to include these. – AndyT Nov 9 at 10:13

In cricket, if a player stands in this pose (with both hands on hips, like the OP's male example) looking angry or frustrated (because another player has messed up, for example) it's often called a "teapot," from the similar shape of an old fashioned teapot with two handles.

Stuart Clark's teapot would have made Glenn McGrath proud

I don't know if that usage has spread elsewhere, though!

  • 2
    Beat me to it! Just saw this, and was going to answer. Note that sometimes called 'double teapot' – Orangesandlemons Nov 7 at 15:05
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    That's a sugarbowl! :) A "teapot" needs the other arm held like a spout, as the song indicates. – Graham Nov 7 at 17:12
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    @Graham No, what you describe as a " teapot" is a "sprinkler" - but used as a victory dance, not a static pose like the OP's pictures. youtube.com/watch?v=KFeqH8EGBHE – alephzero Nov 8 at 9:57
  • @alephzero This could be a cultural thing for English-speaking countries then. I'm referring to a children's song called "I'm a little teapot", which is familiar to all English-speaking people from childhood. Traditionally, teapots have a single handle and an opposing spout, which is why your answer is incorrect. Samovars may have two handles, as may teapots designed to aid people with limited grip, but a traditional teapot does not. Anyone familiar with cricket should also know what a teapot looks like. :) – Graham Nov 8 at 13:22
  • Of course I know the "teapot song", but I've never heard the distinction between one and two "handles" made with reference to teapotting cricketers. – alephzero Nov 8 at 22:27

The one with both hands on the hips is sometimes called the "Wonder Woman (power) pose", especially in the context of the (now discredited) theory of power posing:

This one has been dubbed the "Wonder Woman" by the media.
Amy Cuddy atTEDGlobal 2012: Your body language may shape who you are

That's right, there's a new power pose in town, and it's called the Wonder Woman: hands on hips, feet wide apart, shoulders back, staring confidently forward.
How The Wonder Woman Power Pose Might Actually Help You Get Ahead At Work

Out of desperation, I tried a little experiment: I struck a Wonder Woman-style pose in the middle of the course in a last-ditch effort to perk myself up, mentally and physically.
I Tried "Power Posing" for One Month to See If It Actually Works

Many of us have turned to the “Wonder Woman” pose during times of stress and anxiety in an effort to exude confidence.
'Wonder Woman' Power Pose Does Not Boost Confidence, Testosterone Levels: 3 Hacks To Appear More Confident

  • 1
    Great idea, but to make this work you have to be wearing a funky gold crown-thing, have a red top with two gold birds on your chest, and you should be wearing star-spangled blue shorts and knee-high red boots. And you should be Lynda Carter. Actually, just being Lynda Carter may be enough. Try it and let me know how it works out, Lynda. – Bob Jarvis Nov 8 at 3:54
  • @BobJarvis Laurel didn't say it worked (in fact, she agreed with you and said it was discredited), she just gave a reference for what it was called. All that said, if you believe it will give you more confidence.... The Placebo Effect is a real thing. – Guy Schalnat Nov 8 at 14:10

I've heard it called "power pose"

Power posing is a discredited hypothesis in psychology that claims that by assuming a "powerful" posture, subjects can induce positive hormonal and behavioral changes. It was introduced in a 2010 paper by Dana Carney, Amy Cuddy, and Andy Yap.1 The idea has been referred to as pseudoscience

Wikipedia

  • 7
    Actually, "power pose" is a category of several positions, including the one where you raise your arms above your head and another where your hands are behind your head. – Laurel Nov 7 at 16:16
  • The expression 'power pose' started in the 1950's and took off in the 1970's. (Superman started posing in 1938). – AmI Nov 9 at 6:57

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