Posted by Word Camel on January 10, 2002
In Reply to: Nodding vs Shaking one's head yes. posted by The Fallen on January 10, 2002
: Since I'm on a roll, let me ask one more question that's irking me. Is the verb "to nod" hardly ever used in the USA? I am always hearing the alternate expression "to shake one's head yes" being employed instead. In the UK, the expression "to shake one's head" *always* means to shake it from side to side, thus expressing dissent, whereas to nod (the "one's head" part being optional) *always* means to move one's head up and down in agreement. The same is apparently absolutely not true in the USA... or is it?
I think I have heard also "shaking" used in the affirmative. It seems to be used to convey a sense of urgency or strong emotion. "So she's panicing and shaking her her head, "Yes!", when he asks if she wants him to take the python off her shoulders."
I've not found any examples of this in print however so it might just be something used colloquially.
As far as I am aware 'nodding' and 'shaking' are used - at least when they are used correctly - just in the same way they are in the UK.