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Hailing: A raise of the hand, but with no characteristic waving motion.  It indicates that a person has noticed another.

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Hair length language: I term applied to the meaning of the relative length of the hair.  Men with short hair are often conservative whereas those with long hair are usually carefree, artistic, or radical.  Women with short hair are seen as artistic and business minded.  Long hair in women is associated with youth and sexiness, but aging women with extremely long hair can harbour insecurities.

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Hair ruffling: A playful bonding gesture where the hand is run over the hair of another so as to mess it up.  A father might ruffle the hair of his son.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hair PlayHair play: Can indicate basic grooming, a sexual cue, or that pacifying is taking place depending on context.

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Hall, Edward Twitchell:  Born 1914, Hall was an anthropologist.  He is considered one of the founding fathers of intercultural communication.  He coined the terms “high and low context culture and “proxemics” in his book “The Hidden Dimension.”  Other books by Hall include “The Silent Language” and “Beyond Culture.”

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Halo EffectHalo effect: When people receive positive attributes such as being labeled intelligent or nice simply because they are physically attractive.

 

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Halting speech: A speech trait where the rate is broken and disjointed.  Halting speech indicates insecurity, nervousness, confusion, lying, evasiveness, or an honest attempt to be precise.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hammer FistHammer fist:  Made by balling up the fist and repeatedly and rhythmically batoning it against the palm of the other hand or the table.  It is an aggressive method of emphasizing a point of view.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand Gestures 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand Gestures 2Hand gestures: Special orientations of the hands used to convey specific meaning.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand HoldingBodyLanguageProjectCom - Holding Hands 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Holding Hands 1Hand holding: A nonverbal gesture signifying affection and closeness.  In Islamic cultures men can be seen walking hand-in-hand and in the West courting men and women will hold hands showing intimacy.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand On The Chin Or Hands Supporting The ChinHand on the chin or hands supporting the chin: Indicates evaluation or that negative thoughts are being held, that boredom has set in, or that a person is tired.

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Hand on top handshake technique (the): A handshake technique which reverses the power plays palm down dominant presentation.  It is done by grasping with the right hand in the palm up orientation then putting the left hand over top of their hand and turning it vertical.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand Rubbing Gesture 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand Rubbing Gesture 2Hand rubbing gesture:  Rubbing the hands signifies the expectation of receiving something.  It has roots in washing the hands to accept goods with hands free of dirt.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand Shake 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand Shake 2Handshaking or handshake: A handshake is a type of gesture that is used in greeting where two hands meet palm to palm and a pumping action takes place.  There are three main orientations that can occur during a handshakes.  They are palm down (superiority), palm up (submissive) and palm even (equality).  Palm down handshakes emphasizes that a person wishes to control and dominant us, the palm up means someone feels subordinate and an even palm seeks an equal relationship.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand Steepling 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand Steepling 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand Steepling 3Hand steepling: A posture where the hands are propped by the fingers of each hand to form a bridge – like a church steeple.  In this posture fingers are not interlocked and the palms do not touch.  The steepler is someone that is confident, sometime overconfident, genuine, authoritative, and particularly evaluative of others around him.  Confidence, in this case, is held in the power and control they possess and also in knowing things that other people do not, so steepling says “I have access to hidden information (and life experience) and this is the source of my power and control over you.”

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand To Face Or Hand To MouthBodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand To Face Or Hand To Mouth 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand To Mouth 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand To Mouth 2Hand to face or hand to mouth: A gestural pattern that indicates timidity, shyness or lack of self confidence.  Hands that cover the mouth while speaking or wrap around the lips or play with the side of the face or cheek are examples of nonverbal language that spells poor self confidence.  Hand-to-face and hand-to-mouth are also sometimes attributed to lying body language although this is only sometimes the case.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand Wringing 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hand Wringing 2Hand wringing: When the hands are clasp one inside the other and tightly clamped and twisted on each other.  It signifies high anxiety, stress or low confidence and is a pacifying behaviour.  It can be done so aggressively that the fingers or knuckles turn white.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hands In Pockets 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hands In Pockets 4BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hands In Pockets 1Hands in pockets: A comfort position, but also one that reveals insecurity and a lack of confidence and in more extreme cases even secretiveness as if a person has something to hide.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hands On Hips Or Hands Akimbo Or Fists On Haunches Or The Pot With Two Handles 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hands On Hips Or Hands Akimbo Or Fists On Haunches Or The Pot With Two Handles 1Hands on hips or hands akimbo or fists on haunches or the pot with two handles: Having the hands on the hips has roots in evolution as it acts like the display of a peacock.  It makes the body take up more space and hence appear larger which can be attractive to other men who seek leadership from them or to women seeking a healthy mate.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - HappinessHappiness: Characterized by an upward movement of the corners of the lips and the formation of wrinkles in the corner of the eyes.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Haptics Or Touch Or Bodily Contact 3BodyLanguageProjectCom - Haptics Or Touch Or Bodily Contact 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Haptics Or Touch Or Bodily Contact 1Haptics or touch or bodily contact: The study of touching and how it is used in communication.  Handshakes, holding hands, kissing, back slapping, pushing, stroking, hugging, high fives, brushing up against someone or pats all deliver meaning and are included in haptics.

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Happy feet: Happy feet are those that bounce up and down with joy or seem to have a spring in their step.  This is gravity defying body language and is an honest indication of joy.

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Hard swallow or swallowing hard: Stress indicator due to low saliva production as the fear response of a person is activated.  It is usually involuntary.  Signifies anxiety and embarrassment.

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Hat raise: A greeting gesture done by removing the hat quickly and replacing it.

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Hat tip: A greeting gesture done by briefly touching or tilting the brim of the hat and lowering the head.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Head BackHead back:  Head back indicates confidence sometimes overconfidence and an authoritarian outlook.

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Head bobble: A side to side motion across an arc.  It means different things to different cultures.  For example, in East Slavic it means disapproval and in India it means “okay.”

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Head DropHead drop: A male pick-up cues that is done by first establishing eye contact, then lowering the head followed by quickly and deliberately snapping it backward as if to say “Hey you, come over here.”  It is a replacement signal to the finger beckoning and is more subtle.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Head Lowered Or Head Down Or Head Lowering Or Bowing The HeadHead lowered or head down or head lowering or bowing the head:  The head down shows a judgment or negative internal emotion, submission (defeat).

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Head On 1Head on:  Indicates passive listening.

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Head nods: A gesture done by moving the head up and down along the sagittal plane.  Nodding has a widespread meaning used to convey acceptance or agreement but in other cultures it means disagreement.

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Head shake or head negation:  Occurs as a side to side motion and is normally perceived as maybe, but in reality this is a negative thought indicator.  It is done when a person can’t get past a thought.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Heat Tilt Or Head Cock 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Heat Tilt Or Head Cock 2Head tilt or head cock:  This is a submissive gesture and normally performed by women.  The head tilt happens by tilting the head at forty-five degrees and delivering eye contact in a come hither type look.  It makes women appear more childlike and evokes protective feelings in men.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Height 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Height 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Height 3Height:  Used as a way of establishing superior-subordinate relationships.  These can be real differences as with short and tall people or circumstantial as in happens by modifying ones environment or posture.

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Hesitant movements: Gestures that are filled with fits and starts of which lack direction and certainty.  They are not smooth, nor steady.  Hesitant movements indicate a lack of clear thought, timidity, fear, nervousness, shyness, lack of commitment and poor self esteem.

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Hess, Edward, H.: A pioneer in the study of pupil dilation who found that viewing attractive stimuli produced larger pupil sizes.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hidden Mouth Or Concealed Mouth Or Mouth Conceal 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hidden Mouth Or Concealed Mouth Or Mouth Conceal 2Hidden mouth or concealed mouth or mouth conceal: Done by placing the hand over the mouth, in part, or whole and “talking through it.”  It shows timidity, low self esteem and appears dishonest.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hiding In Plain Sight 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hiding In Plain Sight 1Hiding in plain sight: A nonverbal technique that usually involves a visceral response from the fright or flight system.  This fear causes a person to freeze, either in whole, in extreme cases, or more minutely such as arm or leg freezes for the purpose of going unnoticed.  Breath rate can be reduced, eyes may cease looking about the room, and the body may take up a less expansive profile.  When children wish to avoid being called on in school, they will “hide in plain sight.”

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Highbrow: When the eyebrows are stiffly arched.  It signifies arrogance.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - High Confidence Hand Displays 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - High Confidence Hand Displays 4High confidence body language: Nonverbal cues that are relaxed and show contentment lacking in stress and anxiety.  They include hand steepling, splayed legs, erect chest and shoulders, strong, yet relaxed eye contact and so forth.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - High Confidence Hand Displays 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - High Confidence Hand Displays 3High confidence hand displays: Signals that include steepling, palm down displays, and thumbs up (interlaced fingers), out or visible (through jacket pockets).  These show high comfort and high self esteem.

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High-five or high ten: A congratulatory gesture done by slapping the hand (or both hands) of another person either above the head or at waist height.

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High/low context culture: In a high context culture the rules for conduct do not have to be specifically outlined or verbalized because everyone already knows them.  The cultural demographics are set and the countries demographics doesn’t vary widely from person to person.  High and low context affects rules governing aspects of body language such as touching norms.  High context cultures have a long standing history and practically everyone in the country understands the rules governing touching for example.

Americans come from a low context culture and those from the middle-east come from high context culture.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hip TiltHip tilt: Hip tilt is pervasive in fashion and advertising because it is one feature that women have that men lack.  Women can be seen slouching to one side forcing their hips out to emphasize their curves, or walk in an exaggerated way, bouncing their hips up and down as if on a pendulum – the cat-walk.  Because the hips move about a center pivot, the eye is drawn front and center to the woman’s genitals which act as a beacon.

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Hip rolling or hip jut or hip sway:HipHHHfdsfd While walking the hips move in an exaggerated fashion from side to side so as to draw moving attention to the genital region.

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Hip-to-waist-ratio or hip waist ratio or waist to hip ratio: A comparison of measurements that signify attractive qualities in men and women.  Studies universally show that men universally prefer a hip-to-waist ratio of about seventy percent (7:10) in women, whereas women prefer men to have a hip-to-waist ratio to be about ninety percent (9:10).  This ratio is independent of overall body size or body mass.

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Hip embrace: Happens when young lovers walk with arms around the hips of the other forcing their bodies snugly side-by-side.  It is a display of intimacy.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - HippocampusHippocampus: A region of the brain that primarily functions in memory, especially long term memory, but it also plays a part in producing pleasure, rage, distaste, annoyance and uncontrolled loud laughter.  The hippocampus is responsible for various nonverbal signals due to the root emotions it creates.

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Hobble (the): A type of gait where the legs can not perform a full stride due to injury.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Honest Feet 2BodyLanguageProjectCom - Honest Feet 1Honest feet:  This is a term used to describe the fact that the feet are a more honest indicator of true feelings and hence body language than the rest of the body.  Millions of years ago, we gave up quadrupedalism to walk upright leaving our feet to the dirt and while the hands were focused on higher order tasks through the neocortex, the limbic mind controlled the feet relegated to locomotion and fear response – the fight or flight response.  When people are fearful, the feet respond the fastest by being pulled inward, when we are aggressive they kick or stomp and so forth.

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Honest body language or honesty: Body language that is characteristics of people who are telling the truth.  Honest people are generally more relaxed and lack discomfort, they will hold open postures, will meet and hold gaze, will use touch and gesticulation in conversation and will not opposite proximity.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hostile Body Language Or Hostility Or Anger 1BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hostile Body Language Or Hostility Or Anger 3BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hostile Body Language Or Hostility Or Anger 4BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hostile Body Language Or Hostility Or Anger 2Hostile body language or hostility or anger: Gestures that are designed to intimidate through replacing a person with an action or object with which the action is intended.  For examples, hostility can be displayed by pulling or pinching at one’s own ears, cheeks, hair, or face.  Figuratively these are actions that the hostile persons wish’s to inflict against their agitator.  The gestures are displacement signals meaning they allow for the release of hostile thoughts through peaceful means that avoid (for the time being) direct physical conflict.  We might see foot jabs against the leg of a chair, against the floor or other object, a fist might be repetitively pound against the table with emphasis, or the classic fist to palm punch with some verbally threatening language such as “I’m going to smash your face in.”  Other cues indicating hostility include redness in the face, arms legs or ankles crossed, hands on the hips, short or rapid breath, frequent repetition of aggressive behaviours, pointing with the fingers, rapid or loud speech, rapid body movements, tension, locked jaw, tightly closed lips, frozen expression or scowling, stiff or rigid posture, shaking, fist clenching, uncontrolled arm movements and false laughter.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - BrainHonest brain (the) or reptilian brain (the): The reptilian brain produces visceral bodily responses such as heart rate, blood pressure, circulation, respiration, digestion, and reproduction.  The reptilian brain is the brain stem.  It produces nonverbal body language that is deemed more truthful than that generated by the neocortex which is capable of producing conscious movements.  When a person defense their territory and competes for dominance it is due to the reptilian brain.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - Hug-Ender Cue Or Tap OutHug-ender cue or tap out (the):  Is a pat done toward the end of a hug when one party wishes to terminate.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - HuggerHugger (the):  A gesture used while speaking to an audience where the arms are made

into a circle in front of the body with the palms facing inward toward the speaker.  The speaker wishes for the audience to accept his way of thinking or is trying to wrap his mind around his own hypothesis.

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Human lie detector (the): A person who is able to read and decode nonverbal cues in other people so as to uncover when lying is being perpetrated.

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Humility (nonverbal): Body language that indicates that a person desires others to be included regardless of status or intellect.  Humility implies that a person is secure with themselves and lack competitiveness.  They are also forgiving, understanding and compassionate.  Signals given off by those with humility include good listening, self-deprecating humour, quiet demeanor, giving up a chair for someone else, holding proper eye contact and using open body postures.

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BodyLanguageProjectCom - HumourHumour: The word humour comes from the Greek humoral referring to medicine (humours) that was thought to control human health and emotion whereas a sense of humour is the ability to experience humour.  Humour is a social bonding tool.  Humour also has many variations such as slapstick thought to be a rudimentary form, and satire which was thought to be a more educated version.

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Hybrid expression: A term Charles Darwin first referred to in his book “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals” first published in 1872.  It describes a facial expression that combines two opposing meanings such as laughing to conceal a state other than happiness such as anger, shame or shyness.  According to Darwin expressions such as smiles either real or pretend are often “blended with the expression proper to contempt, and this may pass into angry contempt or scorn.”  Hybrid expressions tell readers to be careful to watch for cues in context rather than by themselves and to look for congruency between what is said and what is seen, as well as body language that happens in unison to uncover true meaning.

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Hygiene: One of the most significant bodily traits.  Bad hygiene includes unkept greasy hair, dirty hands or face, dirty fingernails, dirty or stained teeth, bad breath, body odor and dirty smelly clothing.  Bad hygiene can say that a person lacks intelligence, organization, is lazy, careless, rebellious, lacking in courtesy or a desire to please, and lacks a desire to be socially accepted.  People with poor hygiene sometimes lack the knowledge of its affect on others, are insensitive to others, are mentally ill or have medical problems, or are very poor.

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Hyperhydrosis: A medical condition characterized by an abnormal increase of perspiration independent of any requirement for regulating body temperature.  As it relates to nonverbal language, it can be confused with negative connotations when no such connotations occur.

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Hyperventilating: A fear driven emotional limbic response whereby the lungs draw inordinate amount of air in rapid succession without breaks.  Hyperventilation is a sign of deep trauma and stress.

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Hypothalamus: Coupled with the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus controls the adrenal glands.  These in turn release stress hormones when stimulated by fearful situations.  These hormones flood the body helping to release energy needed to fight or flee.  The hypothalamus also releases other hormones in response to stress contributing to anger and depression.  The hypothalamus is responsible for various nonverbal signals due to the root emotions it creates.

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Get a free start in learning body language today! Click here: Getting Started.

The Body Language Project is the result of a decade of personal research including a thorough review of over 60 primary scientific research journal articles. Learning body language forms the perfect foundation for success in ALL your communication.

If you are only picking up on what is being said, you are missing more than half of the message.

For more information on BodyLanguage be sure to check out: BodyLanguageProject.com and the Ebook – The Body Language Guide to Dating, Attraction and Sexual Body Language.