How can I describe the position the man is sitting in in the picture?

Stock photo from https://previews.123rf.com/images/alanpoulson/alanpoulson1410/alanpoulson141000177/51752085-a-man-in-his-plaid-shirt-leaning-forward-sitting-on-a-blue-chair-.jpg

Are either of these good:

A man is sitting hunched over on a chair, resting his elbows on his thighs.

A man is sitting leaning forward on a chair, resting his elbows on his thighs.

Is 'forearms' better than 'elbows'? Is 'knees' better than 'thighs'?

In the story I'm writing the man sit like that gazing tiredly out the window (if that changes anything)

  • leaning forward in his chair; forearms or elbows is fine.
    – Lambie
    Nov 14, 2019 at 20:41
  • Is that even a chair? I don't see a back to the chair; it looks like it might be a stool instead.
    – J.R.
    Nov 14, 2019 at 22:00

2 Answers 2


"leaning forward" and "hunched over" evoke different connotations to me. "Leaning forward" is more positive or, at worst, neutral. "Hunched over" has a weak/injured/passive feel to it.

  • Agree that "leaning forward" is a very neutral way to describe the position, while "hunched over" can imply some level of discomfort or bad posture. Nov 14, 2019 at 20:53

Yes, both of those work well, though "bent forward" could also be use.

Forearms are generally not referred to in this way, possibly because it is considered a group of parts, though both knees and thighs are specific and appropriate.

Do note that "on a chair" obscures the posturing a bit and can be interpreted multiple ways. It would be better to refer to the seating position parenthetically in these cases:

A man is sitting on a chair, leaning forward, resting his elbows on his thighs.

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