# handwave

## EnglishEdit

hand +‎ wave

### NounEdit

handwave (plural handwaves)

1. (literally) The wave of a hand.
• 1871, Archibald Forbes, My Experiences of the War Between France and Germany, Volume II, 2005 facsimile edition, Adamant Media Corporation, page 354,
The leader, an upright, broad-shouldered old man, with snow-white hair, half halts his horse with a handwave of salutation, as he reaches the Imperial Crown Prince, then gallops on with the latter hanging close on his flank.
• 1991, Robert Barnard, A Scandal in Belgravia[1], page 213:
" [] In fact I tell this mob"— he gave a derogatory handwave in the direction of the ten or twelve pairs of eyes that were still intent on us—"that I was the original of these Pappa-whatsits."
"Papparazzi."
2. A glib statement or explanation that glosses over important details.
• 2008, Hyman P. Minsky, Stabilizing an Unstable Economy[2], page 285:
In this glib handwave by Friedman, the real results are determined independently of money and financing phenomena; given the way monetarists set up the analysis, the rate of growth of money can only affect the behavior of the price level.

### VerbEdit

handwave (third-person singular simple present handwaves, present participle handwaving, simple past and past participle handwaved)

1. (rhetoric, academia) To explain something superficially, skipping over important details, perhaps appealing to intuition instead.
• 2001, Stephanie Frank Singer, Symmetry in Mechanics: A Gentle, Modern Introduction[3], page 33:
Some readers may wish to handwave this restriction away, thinking of ${\displaystyle {\tfrac {\partial }{\partial \rho }}}$  as a differentiable vector field on ${\displaystyle \mathbb {R} ^{2}}$  that behaves badly at the origin; this approach will suffice for the purposes of this book.