A facepalm (sometimes also face-palm or face palm) is the physical gesture of placing one's hand flat across one's face or lowering one's face into one's hand or hands. The gesture is found in many cultures as a display of frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, shock, surprise or sarcasm.
According to Macmillan Dictionary, the word "facepalm" first appeared around 2006, though another source has an earliest citation of 2001. The gesture itself is not of recent origin and, although common, is not culturally universal. Images of stockbrokers facepalming have also been widely used in the media to convey the dismay associated with poor financial performance, and a wide variety of regrettable film, business, and political decisions have been described as facepalms or "facepalm moments". According to Oxford University Press lexicographer Susie Dent, this versatility is one of the reasons that the word has been linguistically "successful".
This gesture is not unique to humans. A group of mandrills at the Colchester Zoo has adopted a similar gesture to signal the desire to avoid social interaction or to be left alone.