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For other uses, see Shrug (disambiguation).
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 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 something.[2] A shrug 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 simply ignoring a 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", one may 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".[citation needed]

Shoulder shrugs are among the symptomatic tics of Tourette syndrome.[3]

The shrug gesture is an Unicode emoji included as U+1F937 🤷 SHRUG.[4] The shrug emoticon is also typed as ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b EKMAN, Paul. Telling Lies, p.101
  2. ^ "Shrug | Define Shrug at". Retrieved 2011-12-20. 
  3. ^ "Anxiety/panic disorder most frequent disabling comorbid disorder in Tourette syndrome patients, study finds". June 19.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ "Shrug Emoji". Emojipedia. Retrieved 2016-01-17.