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a sign of thinking


chin-stroking = (beim Überlegen) das Kinn streicheln



“So when BBC revealed its plans to air Accent of Evil, a full month of movies starring British villains, it needed a campaign with the CHIN-STROKING, sinister-laughter attitude to match the name.”

Bartley & Dick - BBC America

Did you

noun phrase

- the action of stroking one's chin, esp. while deliberating or reflecting on a question.

Oxford English Dictionary


First seen in print in the The Morning Post, in 1860: “Dancing has its stupid conventionalities like every other art—its chin-stroking, and running about upon tip-toes, for instance.”

Chin stroking is a gesture made popular by modern media. The stereotypical chin-stroker is old, wise and bearded! Beard or chin stroking signifies that the thinking process has begun,… but that a decision hasn’t yet been made.

Pop psychology suggests how to predict a positive or negative outcome:

If, following the chin-stroke the hand comes down and across the body at right angles, expect a negative answer.

But if the hand comes forward and is placed on the thighs in a ready posture, or the arms remains uncrossed, expect a positive answer.

Make your own experience dear Reader. In these days of Zoom & Co. the chin- or beard-stroke is an easy thing to notice, but less so the outcome, as the hand drops out of sight.

SYNONYMS for contemplate

consider, contemplate, mull over, ponder, weigh, deliberate, excogitate, ruminate, brood over, chew over, meditate on, muse over, reflect upon

SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation, say something like:

“Hey Jim, did you see the chairman’s CHIN-STROKE when you asked for his opinion. I think he’s still undecided.”

P.S. A BIG THANKS to all “Friends-of-OWAD” who are supporting my efforts to keep the service going:)

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