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grand gesture

An especially elaborate, showy action, typically to win someone's love. I don't need grand gestures from my boyfriend. He shows me he loves me every day in a million tiny ways. A: "Do you think I could win her back with some sort of grand gesture?" B: "What, like surprising her with a choreographed dance routine or something?"
See also: gesture, grand

hollow gesture

Some action or effort that is insincere or disingenuous. You tell me reach out to you, but it feels like a hollow gesture because you never return my calls!
See also: gesture, hollow

make (a gesture) at (one)

To create a sign, symbol, or gesture with one's hands and display it in one's direction. The student was sent to the principal's office for making rude gestures at the teacher from the back of class. You do realize that you look like idiots making gang signs at each other like that, don't you?
See also: make

token gesture

A mostly perfunctory or symbolic action that generally is of little importance or consequence. I know that the $200 they gave me at the end of my three-month internship was just a token gesture, but I really needed the money by that point! I've always thought that simply signing your name on a birthday card is little more than a token gesture.
See also: gesture, token
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

token gesture

an action or a decision that is so small or inconsequential as to be only symbolic. Offering to pay for my dinner was only a token gesture. That does little to make up for my inconvenience.
See also: gesture, token
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
He went up to him quickly, received the comte in his arms, and as they were not yet sufficiently distant from the house for the servants, who had remained at the door to watch their master's departure, not to perceive the disorder in the usually regular proceeding of the comte, the valet called his comrades by gestures and voice, and all hastened to his assistance.
"Take him away!" he said, pointing with a gracefully majestic gesture to the portrait.
Then there was established between them a strange dialogue of signs and gestures, for neither of them spoke.
"Now!" cried all the boys, but with a magnificent gesture Peter invited his opponent to pick up his sword.
As he stood on the bulwark looking over his shoulder at Peter gliding through the air, he invited him with a gesture to use his foot.
Miss Polly lifted her hand to the collar at her throat in the gesture that had become so common to her of late.
She was often defeated in her purpose, by encountering their watchful eyes, when it became necessary to feign an alarm she did not feel, and occupy the limb by some gesture of feminine apprehension.
Some ran furiously to the water's edge, beating the air with frantic gestures, while others spat upon the element, to resent the supposed treason it had committed against their acknowledged rights as conquerors.
Madame coquetted with him in the most captivating and naive manner, with eyes, gestures, and a profusion of compliments, till the Colonel's old head felt thirty years younger on his padded shoulders.
He who would strip you of veils and wrappers, and paints and gestures, would just have enough left to scare the crows.
There were portraits of men with large, melancholy eyes which seemed to say you knew not what; there were long monks in the Franciscan habit or in the Dominican, with distraught faces, making gestures whose sense escaped you; there was an Assumption of the Virgin; there was a Crucifixion in which the painter by some magic of feeling had been able to suggest that the flesh of Christ's dead body was not human flesh only but divine; and there was an Ascension in which the Saviour seemed to surge up towards the empyrean and yet to stand upon the air as steadily as though it were solid ground: the uplifted arms of the Apostles, the sweep of their draperies, their ecstatic gestures, gave an impression of exultation and of holy joy.
He seemed to see things more profoundly through the grave eyes of those dead noblemen of Castile; and the gestures of the saints, which at first had seemed wild and distorted, appeared to have some mysterious significance.
owle motarkee!' which signifies, 'Terrible fellows those Happars!--devour an amazing quantity of men!--ah, shocking bad!' Thus far he explained himself by a variety of gestures, during the performance of which he would dart out of the house, and point abhorrently towards the Happar valley; running in to us again with a rapidity that showed he was fearful he would lose one part of his meaning before he could complete the other; and continuing his illustrations by seizing the fleshy part of my arm in his teeth, intimating by the operation that the people who lived over in that direction would like nothing better than to treat me in that manner.
heaps, heaps heaps!' All this was accompanied by a running commentary of signs and gestures which it was impossible not to comprehend.
She, too, seemed greatly excited, making quick gestures. Finally she ran out of the hut.