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An example of shrugging. Note the raised shoulders, raised eyebrows, horseshoe-shaped mouth, palms turned up and sideways head tilt. These are all components of the gesture.[1] Not all components need to be present at all times.

A shrug is a gesture that is performed by lifting both shoulders up, and is a representation of an individual either not knowing an answer to a question, or not caring about a result.[2] It is an emblem, meaning that it integrates the vocabulary of only certain cultures and may be used in place of words.[1] It can also be used when someone is simply ignoring the person's question. It may be accentuated with raised eyebrows, a turned-down mouth and/or an exaggerated frown, and can be accompanied by raised palms. It is very common in Western culture, rather than saying "I don't know", they would simply perform a shrug. In the English-speaking world it may be accompanied by a three syllable grunt or hummed mumble mimicking the intonation of "I dunno".

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  1. ^ a b EKMAN, Paul. Telling Lies, p.101
  2. ^ "Shrug | Define Shrug at". Retrieved 2011-12-20.