What do you call a facial gesture? I thought about it and I can't think of a single word to refer to it. It's not a facial expression, because it's not an expression, but a gesture that can accompany any facial expression. For example, someone licking the upper lip. That's a gesture, but you can look aroused, sad, angry while doing it, so it's not a facial expression.

  • Who keeps trying to close and downvote these? Blackbird has a reasonable confusion based on a lack of clarity in the references researched. These are great questions because they require a deep familiarity with language that no dictionary can provide.
    – Andrew
    Jul 17, 2019 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


It would still be considered a facial expression. It can be used to describe both individual movements and signals (like winking or smirking) and also the collective expression of the whole face conveying an emotion or state (like scared or inebriated). The individual expressions are also known as a form on non-verbal communication.

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