shake one's head
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- To move one's head from side to side, in a repeated swiveling motion from the neck, to indicate disagreement, negation, disbelief, disapproval or dismay.
- 1826, James Fenimore Cooper, chapter 4, in The Last of the Mohicans:
- "An Indian lost in the woods!" said the scout, shaking his head doubtingly.
- 1918, Edgar Wallace, chapter 7, in The Man Who Knew:
- Mr. Brandon shook his head in despair at the unbusinesslike methods of his patron.
- 2011 October 22, Sam Sheringham, “Aston Villa 1 - 2 West Brom”, in BBC Sport:
- The Irishman, outstanding in the 2-0 victory over Wolves last week, limped off soon afterwards shaking his head and exchanging words with a section of Villa fans.
- (less common) To move one's head up and down, in a repeated hinge-like motion from the top of the spine, to indicate agreement, affirmation, approval, or simply polite attentiveness.
- A relatively quick head movement from side to side indicates an emphatic "no," while a slower motion tends to indicate disbelief or dismay.
- A relatively quick head movement up and down indicates an emphatic "yes," while a slower motion tends to indicate attentiveness.
- In some countries, for example in Bulgaria and Sri Lanka, the meanings are reversed: i.e. a movement side to side means "yes" and a movement up and down means "no"
- (move one's head up and down): nod
- (move one's head from side to side): smh
move one's head from side to side