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Character Tics
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Monk frames the scene.

War Doctor: Are you capable of speaking without flapping your hands about?
Eleventh Doctor: [exaggerated shrug] Yes. [claps hands together] ...no.
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Facial expressions and physical gestures as idioms. Some of these were invented for television, some came from the wild, but TV certainly gives them extra attention — it's a big way that TV differs from the stage.

Things like Spock's "Fascinating" eyebrow-raise, the wide eyes of surprise, the "these people are crazy" eye-roll, the scoff of derision, the furrowed brow of anger, the other kind of furrowed brow of concentration, and the lip-curl of disgust.

Animation has its own pile of these, like bulging or heart-shaped eyes, or Anime's sweat drop of embarrassed exasperation.

These are distinct from Reaction Shots, which have a narrower and more specific meaning.

When it's a character in a video game performing the action over and over because the developers programmed a perfectly good action and want to get as much out of it as possible, it's Going Through the Motions.

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In general, video games that go through the motions can have some positions that look unique enough to seem like a character tic, which may or may not be intentional, and if not, likely becomes Ascended Fanon in a sequel if enough people think of it as such. Fighting Games in general give each character a trademark pose (or even more than one) that they assume upon winning.

A subtrope of Body Language. This may be justified if the specific gesture is a Magical Gesture, or otherwise a way to guide/throw out their powers. Twitchy Eye is a specific type of character tic used to convey anxiety, rage, or impending psychosis, and Maniac Tongue similarly indicates mental instability. For specific gestures done while deep in thought, see Thinking Tic. For the verbal version, see Verbal Tic.

Compare The Tell, for when the characters do more than just a gesture, as a sign for their characterization and condition.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • 7 Seeds has Ogiwara Ryusei, who tends to stick his tongue upward. Likely for no particular reason, he does it when he's joking, thinking... or just because.
  • Action Heroine Cheer Fruits discusses the use of this trope in Toku, observing that since the principal actors wear face-concealing costumes, body language is their primary form of expression and hero characters are generally given at least one iconic gesture or affectation (the examples given, under heavy Pixellation, are Kamen Rider Hibiki's salute and Kamen Rider Ohja's neck-roll).
  • Battle Royale: In the manga version, Hiroki Sugimura has a tendency to tap his nose when he doesn't know what to say. Lampshaded by his friend Takako Chigusa.
  • Bleach:
    • Grimmjow comments to Orihime that Ulquiorra has a habit of striking "prey" in the same location as his own hollow hole. He speculates that Ulquiorra does it subconsciously and may not even be aware of what he's doing.
    • Grimmjow has a habit of flexing his fingers like claws whenever he's getting excited about a fight or challenge.
    • Nnoitra had a habit of sticking his tongue out when excited or cocky. His Espada number was also tattooed on his tongue, so his character tic is also what reveals his rank.
    • Shinji is introduced to Ichigo's class by writing his name backwards on the blackboard and he tends to do other things (like sitting) backwards too. This relates to his zanpakuto's special ability.
  • In Bloom Into You, Touko's character in the School Play has a habit of playing with her hair when she's troubled. Her nurse quickly picks up on that, and realizes that her patient's troubled about something, presumably the identity crisis the girl's suffering after losing her memory.
  • Code Geass:
    • Lelouch is well-known among anime fans for his propensity for dramatic poses, but he seems particularly fond of hand gestures that draw attention to his left eye (the one that holds his Magical Eye powers). A good example of this can be seen in the first opening for the show's second season.
    • C. C. can often be found noshing on pizza or lying down, oftentimes cradling her stuffed Cheese-kun doll.
  • Death Note: Pretty much anything L does, Near's hair-twirling and playing with toys, and Mello's maniacal chocolate-eating.
  • Delicious in Dungeon: Kabru touches his chin or face whenever he gets excited.
  • In Digimon Tamers, Mitsuo Yamaki is constantly seen flicking the lid of his lighter open and shut. He's never actually seen smoking though.
  • In Fire Force, Shinra gives a Slasher Smile whenever he's nervous or stressed. His tendency to do this at bad times — say, right after his family died in a fire that he is believed to have started — helps explain why people think of him as a psychopath at best and a "devil" at worst.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist. Envy has a very distinctive grin, which lets us recognize him when he's transformed into someone.
  • Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin: The dogs tend to lick their chops whenever they're satisfied or ready for a battle.
  • Gokusen: The heroine is a Yakuza Princess, and thus while she isn't a Tattooed Crook herself, has picked up the gesture of raising her sleeve to show (nonexistent in her case) tattoos when aggravated.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • Haruhi has her famous "hairflick". This is only portrayed in the anime.
    • Kyon's "frown and sigh", which he tends to do a lot.
    • Don't forget Kyon's infamous Face Palm tendency.
    • Itsuki's hand gestures when explaining something, as if he's conducting the listeners' thoughts in concert with his own.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Kars from Battle Tendency tends to stick his tongue out as a way to intimidate his opponents.
    • Jotaro Kujo will draw his index finger across the brim of his cap before destroying someone with Star Platinum.
    • Diamond Is Unbreakable:
      • Yukako Yamagishi's left eye twitches whenever she's mad or worked up.
      • Terunosuke Miyamoto has the Stand, Enigma, which can trap and fold anything in paper, but in order to trap a person he first needs to identify their specific "nervous tic". Obviously, he's scarily good at figuring them out.
      • Also a bit of Compressed Vice; Josuke's tic, biting his lower lip, was never seen before that fight in the manga. The anime subverts this by having him perform this action multiple times in previous fights.
    • Vento Aureo:
      • While much more noticeable in the manga, Giorno Giovanna has a habit of trembling whenever he feels a strong emotion, and it is often the only clue to his emotional state. Giorno trembles most violently in situations involving death, suggesting it may often be a response to Trying Not to Cry.
      • Narancia Ghirga will stand with his arms out on either side with his head hunched forward, allowing his Stand, Aerosmith, to use his body as a runway.
    • During Stone Ocean, Big Bad Enrico Pucci develops the habit of listing off prime numbers when stressed, as their indivisibility gives him security.
  • K: Fushimi Saruhiko clicks his tongue an awful lot. He does it to his subordinates, his superiors, people that annoy him, things that annoy him, situations that annoy him, to avoid answering...the list is endless. He even does it to Misaki, or at least when he's not in his special mode.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • Kaguya places her right hand on her left cheek when her feelings for Shirogane start acting up. This is actually an invoked example since she conditioned herself -Pavlov style- to calm down whenever she did so.
    • Kei starts stretching whenever she's listening in on her brother, in order to hide her interest.
  • K-On!: In the anime version, Mio always holds her guitar pick in her mouth and flips her hair back over her shoulder before she starts playing her bass.
  • Mob Psycho 100: The Phony Psychic Arataka Reigen is shown in the anime to wave his hands around wildly before making a gesture, possibly to play himself as more mysterious or powerful than he actually is.
  • Monster: Inspector Lunge's most distinguishing feature is his habit of moving his fingers as though he were typing, which (he claims) helps him memorize information verbatim.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Uraraka tends to curl her fingers into paws in order to avoid putting all her fingers on something and accidentally activating her Quirk.
    • Bakugo tends to bare his teeth at his opponents as a sign of aggression. And he never wears his tie properly.
    • Aoyama always has a close-lipped smile on his face, even when annoyed or scared.
    • Iida does strange, robotic hand motions (mainly chopping furiously) when he's trying to emphasize a point or is scolding someone.
    • Jiro tends to twirl her earphone jacks around her finger or touches them together when she's embarrassed.
    • Aizawa rubs the back of his neck.
    • Momo Yaoyorozu occasionally covers her chest with her arm while in her hero costume.
    • Shigaraki tends to scratch his neck when he's irritated. He uses both hands if he's close to freaking out.
  • In Naruto, we have Guy and Rock Lee's thumbs ups, Manly Poses, and Youthful Grins; Kakashi's happy eye-arch; Iruka's blushing and scar-scratching; Sakura shoving her fist in the air; Ino sticking her tongue out; Shikamaru slumping his shoulders; Tsunade biting her thumb; Kabuto pushing up his glasses; Hinata finger twiddling; Naruto and Kushina scratching the back of their heads; Gaara crossing his arms...
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Gendo Ikari's so-called "Gendo Pose": sitting with his elbows on a table, fingers interlaced and hands in front of his mouth (thereby preventing anyone from seeing his expression unless looking from below). Thereby saving the animators from having to draw his lips. Also couples with his shiny glasses hiding his eyes. Hiding the lips hides pretty much all chance of reading his expression. Not that he's particularly expressive under normal circumstances.
    • Gendo also pushes up his glasses, as if to add a non-verbal "...dumbass" to the end of his sentence. This also has the side-effect of making him seem more suspect; in a real life example of this trope, many people will cover their mouths somewhat when lying (without knowing it), and many other people will pick up on that (usually subconsciously). Of course, some people just scratch their nose from time to time, unintentionally invoking this.
    • Also, Shinji has a habit of clenching and unclenching his hand when anxious. It's possibly a tic in the actual psychological sense, due to the very real pain and trauma caused to him when his Humongous Mecha had its arm ripped off.
  • Morei Nekomata of Omujo! Omutsu Joshi has a habit of rolling over from side to side when upset. Chapters from her viewpoint show her doing this when she's discovered some obstacle in her pursuit of Shouta. Alternatively, when she thinks she's pulled off, she shakes her head in a similar manner in her excitement.
  • One Piece:
    • Klahadore has a rather distinctive way of adjusting his glasses, using the heel of his hand to push them up. Most characters write it off, but his old crewmate Jango understands exactly why he does this: his Weapon of Choice is a pair of clawed gloves, making the normal methods of Adjusting Your Glasses dangerously impractical at best and flat-out dangerous at worst. The fact that he still does this is what alerts Jango to the fact that “Thousand-Plans” Kuro is as dangerous as he ever was even after five years in deep-cover-slash-retirement.
    • The odd little dance Chopper does whenever he's denying feeling pleased with being praised. Word of God says it was based on a Real Life comedy routine.
    • Camie the mermaid's distinctive face fault. It's... hard to describe. Her eyes bug out, her teeth jut out, her jaw seems to unhinge, and her tongue looks huge and hangs out.
    • Bon Clay has a unique facial expression, a wide grin with one eye squinting and the other wide, which gives him away when disguised.
    • Zoro usually ties his bandana on his left arm, but when he gets serious in a fight, he'll wear it on his head.
  • Persona 4: The Animation: Yu has an oddly distinct way of crushing the magical tarot cards used to summon his Personas - he extends his arm out forward, flips his hand so his palm faces upwards, and then crushes the card by making a fist. This is entirely new to the anime, and not present in the original game at all.
  • Pokémon:
    • Ash in some parts of the series would flip his Nice Hat from front to back whenever he gets serious in a battle. He mainly stopped after Johto, but he flipped his hat for the first time in years during the Sinnoh Pokémon League Tournament and later started doing it again frequently in Unova.
    • Drew has a very noticeable habit of flicking his bangs out of this face. He probably does this about twice an episode when he appears.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura tends to dramatically flip her hair, particularly when asserting herself or before entering a confrontation. Her Letting Her Hair Down, in contrast to the Girlish Pigtails she had as her Shrinking Violet past self, symbolizes her resolve to destroy every witch and save Madoka by herself.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena:
    • Miki and his seemingly random stopwatch usage. He did it so often that fans had asked Ikuhara just why the hell did Miki keep timing things? Naturally, Ikuhara gave one of his infamous non-answers.
    • Also, the protagonist is an athletic girl who will do random stretches in the middle of conversations.
  • Sazanka: The protagonist, Tatsuki, often puts a hand on the back of her head while trying to laugh off something. Her doing so helps her best friend, Aoi, see a bruise Tatsuki got from her ex-boyfriend, Keita.
  • Tokyo Ghoul makes use of this trope, with several characters making distinct mannerisms.
    • Yamori has a rather unique and disturbing method of cracking his knuckles, a habit he picked up from the human that tortured him. His second-in-command, Naki, does it in imitation of his beloved "Big Bro".
    • Kaneki has a tendency to adopt the tics of people that had a strong influence on his life. From his mother, he picked up the habit of touching his chin with his left hand whenever he tells a lie to spare someone's feelings. After being tortured for 10 days by Yamori, he picks up the habit of cracking his knuckles when irritated or about to do something violent. Finally, in the sequel, he has begun placing his hand against his ear while deep in thought — a habit borrowed from his best friend, Hide.
  • Toradora!: Ryuuji tugs at his bangs in a characteristic way whenever he's shy, embarrassed, uncertain, or thinking.
  • Violet Evergarden has the tendency to nuzzle or even bite objects she's holding, as her prosthetic hands don't have a proper sense of touch.

    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics:
    • Batman tends to... loom at every available opportunity.
    • Given the way comic-book physics work, there is no possible way Superman (or any other hero, for that matter) needs to raise one arm when he takes flight. Yet... it looks cool. Although it may be so that anything he smashes into hits his fist first instead of his head.
    • Supergirl used to put her finger to her mouth as she puzzled out some conundrum in early issues of Action Comics. That quirk that has been seen every now and then even in modern comics.
    • Robin supporting character Callie Evans likes to keep her hands busy and is usually chewing on something. She often brings along a yo-yo and gum to keep her from chewing on straws or her fingernails and to keep from fidgeting.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Superhumanly agile characters like Spider-Man and Nightcrawler will often crouch or even drop to all-fours for no reason other than because it looks dynamic and to show off how flexible they are.
    • X-Men:
      • There is plenty of evidence that Professor X, Jean Grey, Rachel Summers and all the various telepaths can use their mental powers without pressing their fingers to their temples (and optionally extending one hand) — doing so would appear to be the telepathic equivalent of sticking your tongue out the corner of your mouth while aiming at a target: it just feels like it helps, even though it serves no purpose.
      • X-Men villain (and sometimes ally) Magneto appears to reflexively extend his hands to guide his magnetic powers (one hand for minor uses, both for really big stuff). It clearly isn't necessary, though, as he will occasionally remain motionless when using his powers for intimidation purposes, presumably a conscious decision to imply that a foe is beneath his notice. There has been evidence that he can use his powers better when using his hand, but like the example below, it's probably just to help him focus.

    Fan Works 
  • Achilles' Heel: Lusamine has a habit of clicking her tongue when annoyed. The tic brings back bad memories, so she's been trying to stop.
  • In The Apprentice, the Student, and the Charlatan, Nova Shine often rubs around his horn whenever he's in deep thought.
  • In Broken Bow, Armani (and his alternate-universe duplicate) tends to incline his head as a gesture of acknowledgment.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series: Jack T. Robot will lean on anything when standing still. This apparently includes his own leg.
  • Cave Story Versus I M Meen: Jack has a serious habit of vomiting, but it is more or less justified by the shit that he goes through.
  • Coveralls, a fanfic of The X-Files written by an AI, gives Mulder the habit of crawling and nodding and Scully the habit of sighing.
  • Cross Cases: Sam Winchester's portrayal gives him a habit of scrubbing his hand over his mouth when he's thinking, or sometimes nervous. Harry Dresden also notices other 'tics' of his, such as pressing his nail into his left palm and apparently looking away at nothing, both of which are related to him being Lucifer's vessel.
  • Despair's Last Resort:
    • Naomi is constantly pushing her glasses up her nose.
    • The trope is actually discussed by Kumiko in Chapter 6, mentioning that these could be used to figure out the mastermind's identity. Which they do. Takara remembers Monokuma's tendency to use theater references and terminology which points her to figuring out it's Saemi.
  • In Dreamlike, a Popuri/Karen oneshot, Karen has a character tic of sticking a strand of hair behind her ear.
  • In An Enduring Song, a fanfiction of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Riker stares at the wall a lot.
  • Fire Emblem Fates: Aftermath: When Lilith gets nervous, she starts playing with her hair braid.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Let's see... quirking brows, widening eyes, face-palms, suddenly speaking their native languages, pulling objects out of invisible places... the author uses quite a few.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Shinji makes his infamous unclenching-and-unclenching-hand tic when he encourages himself to greet his newborn daughter.
    Shinji hesitated, then once again clenched his hand in decision. He approached Asuka. She looked up, smiled at him, then back down at the infant in her arms. Shinji followed her lead. "H-" he began. He coughed, then continued.
  • Heirverse: Aizen will run a hand through his hair as a means of self-comfort, Gin later picks up the trait. He also has a tendency to touch the scars he got from walking into a lamppost, whenever he's confused or trying to work something out.
  • In the Motion Practice series, there's a character tic that seems to belong to the author rather than any character in particular: at least once a story, someone will roll their lips together to express (or suppress) an emotion.
  • The One I Love Is: Asuka sometimes clenches and unclenches her fist, like Shinji did. She mentions it in the "Friends and Rivals" side-story:
    I didn't really notice it, but I clenched and unclenched my fist, much like Shinji sometimes did.
  • Our Own League:
    • Wonder Girl presses her fingertips together, either when she's thinking hard, or stressed and taking deep breaths.
    • Kid Flash chews gum so as to keep moving even when he has to sit still. When concentrating, however, he will chew harder and smack his lips loudly.
    • When she's startled or having Performance Anxiety, Miss Martian will shriek "Eep!" and turn invisible.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Reflecting Balance: Blitz the Shinx is often seen rubbing the yellow rings on his forelegs together when nervous.
  • Sunny Breeze of Racer and the Geek has a habit of using gratuitous foreign languages.
  • RWBY: Scars:
    • When Weiss is nervous, she rubs her wrists. This has to do with her Self-Harm scars. Ruby later realizes that Weiss stabbed herself after she sees Weiss rubbing her stomach in a similar way.
    • Blake has a tic of touching her cheek. This stems from her abusive ex-boyfriend Adam having once slapped her.
  • The Second Try:
    • The nervous tic that Shinji displayed in the series, the clenching/relaxing of his left hand, shows up again just before the battle with the 12th angel. However, in another example of character growth, Shinji actually notices this and makes himself stop (and also mentally lampshades how "old habits are hard to break".)
    • In the sequel, his daughter has developed his same nervous tic: in episode 3, she clenches and relaxes her right hand when she gets nervous.
  • Songs Uncle Sings: The uncle reflexively clenches and unclenches his fist.
  • In Tommy Pickles The Terrible Twos which is a fanfic of Rugrats, Dil develops a habit of walking backwards a lot.

    Films — Animation 
  • Coraline:
    • The Other Mother drums her fingers on the table when agitated or excited.
    • Coraline cocks her hip and slouches when annoyed.
    • Wybie tilts his head, a trait also shared by the cat.
  • Disney Animated Canon: Animators often watch the footage of the voice actors recording so that they can give their mannerisms to the characters.
    • The Little Mermaid: Ariel sighing so that it blows her bangs upward, and biting her lower lip when she's excited or upset.
    • Beauty and the Beast:
      • Belle pushing back that lock of hair that always falls out of place.
      • The Beast has a tendency to pull on the back of his neck when he's ashamed or frustrated and will Face Palm when depressed or exasperated.
    • Aladdin rubs the back of his head when he's embarrassed, raises a single eyebrow when he's interested, and wiggles his eyebrows when he says something suggestive or has more than one meaning.
    • The Princess and the Frog: Tiana squinting one eye when she cringes. Anika Noni Rose also asked if she could be left-handed like she is.
    • Villainous example that also doubles as a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment; Maleficent from Disney's Sleeping Beauty has a noticeable habit of lifting her hand up to her chest when speaking, a habit she shared with her voice actress, Eleanor Audley. A lot of people found this quite charming and dramatic... until Eleanor Audley died of respiratory failure at eighty-six. She was fighting a case of tuberculosis while making the film and almost turned down the role because of it.
    • Frozen:
      • Elsa wraps her arms around herself whenever she's feeling stressed.
      • Anna brushes a lock of hair behind her ear whenever she feels nervous or embarrassed. She also bites her lower lip a dozen times throughout the movie.
    • Tangled: Rapunzel narrowing her eyes. Rapunzel also has a little half-laugh she'll do when she's nervous or excited. She shares this trait with her mother - which, even more than their strong resemblance to each other, really drives home their connection to each other when they reunite and both do the little laugh.
    • Brother Bear: No matter whether he's a human or a bear, Kenai tends to rub the back of his head and neck whenever he's anxious or uncertain.
  • In Fantastic Mr. Fox, Mr. Fox tends to whistle and then click his tongue, which he calls his "trademark". Several characters have gotten goofy eyes at some point, but most often, it's Kylie.
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
    • Nearly every move Hiccup makes is a character tic — from waving his arms around while he talks, to tilting his head when he's curious, to petting Toothless every time they do something dangerous and/or cool while flying.
    • Astrid has a habit of brushing back her bangs, but only around Hiccup.
  • In Inside Out, Sadness lies on the floor whenever she's being particularly mopey.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • Adding the to list of Twilight Sparkle's tics, when she's human in this film series, she often keeps her hands bent at the wrists with her fingers coiled at the first knuckles, as if she still has hooves.
    • Sunset Shimmer gets a Hand Behind Head habit after the first movie. She also shares Twilight's tic above, though she does it less often, being more used to her human form.
    • Twilight Sparkle's human Alternate Self, as seen in Friendship Games, often grasps and pulls on the side locks of her hair when embarrassed.
  • Strange Magic: Roland likes to twist one his curls between his fingers in order to show off how good-looking he is.
    • Marianne frequently brushes or blows bits of hair out of her face.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers: Dr. Evil raising his pinky finger to his mouth.
  • Back to the Future:
    • Marty McFly sleeps on either his side or his stomach with an arm behind his back.
    • His father George has the habit of shaking his hand in the air.
    • Doc Brown often makes grandiose gestures with his arms. Word of God says that Christopher Lloyd had based his portrayal of Doc in part on famed conductor Leopold Stokowski, i.e. Doc is conducting the world.
  • In The Big Sleep, Philip Marlowe rubs his earlobe when his concentrating. Carmen also bites her thumb, which irritates Marlowe.
  • In The Caine Mutiny Captain Queeg has a nervous habit of rolling around some glass beads in his hand. When he does this at a court martial hearing, it pretty much guarantees that he'll be released for being mentally unstable.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • The Joker from The Dark Knight licks his lips while he talks a lot. Word of God states that this was a result of Heath Ledger being annoyed by the feeling of the scar prosthetics and unconsciously licking at them because of it and after seeing him do it a few times with the full make-up and finding it seriously creepy, they decided to just make it part of the character.
    • In The Dark Knight Rises Bane constantly is grasping the lapels of whatever outfit he's currently wearing. This is seen when Selina looks back at him before deciding to jump into the Bat, and also when he and his mercenaries are holding the Wayne Enterprises board hostage, among others. As with the Joker, this is also a case of Throw It In!; Tom Hardy does this to let in some air around his collar, as the mask causes his face to heat up.
  • DC Extended Universe: Diana cocks her head and smiles a Grin of Audacity when facing off against a powerful opponent, showcasing her Blood Knight tendencies.
  • Calvin Candie of Django Unchained tends to bang on whatever hard surface is in front of him (or clap if there isn't one) for emphasis when speaking.
  • In A Dog's Purpose, one of Bailey's most used tricks is spinning around and catching his tail in his mouth. When he does it later as Buddy to show Ethan who he is, Hannah remarks, "Didn't Bailey use to do that?" Along with that, jumping off Ethan's back to catch a deflated football, and barking to the nickname "Boss Dog", it all helps Ethan realize that Bailey's come back.
  • In Ernst Thaelmann: Sohn Seiner Klasse 1954 , Fiete Jansen (Thaelmann's main deputy) habitually wipes his nose with his hand. Interestingly, he has abandoned this tic by part II Ernst Thaelmann: Fueherer Seiner Klasse (which picks up 7 years later with Fiete's release from prison) which might suggest an interfilm discretion shot.
  • Fermat's Room: Hilbert corrects the other characters' grammar when they write on the chalkboard, adding accent marks (particularly over the letter "o").
  • Godzilla: In many of the older movies, Godzilla often slams his fist into his palm as he walks. In King Kong vs. Godzilla, he also tends to flap his arms around like a seal.
  • The Harry Potter films:
    • The Voldemort neck roll that Harry takes on when their minds are melded.
    • Hermione's eyebrows dancing up and down with every syllable, sometimes getting out of sync with each other. Emma Watson even does this when she's not acting, making it more of an actor tic, though she has managed to tone it down somewhat in the later films.
    • Barty Crouch Junior's lip-licking made his father realize that his son was impersonating Mad-Eye Moody. This trait is shared by another of the actor's characters, but in Harry Potter, it's exaggerated to the point where he looks like Miley Cyrus.
  • Infernal Affairs has a couple of trademark tics that are actually plot-relevant: Yan's habit of tapping his fingers on things (which he uses deliberately to camouflage sending text messages) and Ming's of tapping objects he's carrying against his leg (which causes Yan to recognise him from an incident when he didn't see Ming's face).
  • James Bond:
    • Bond's infamous hypnobrow of doom.
    • Boris Grishenko, Evil Genius for the Big Bad of GoldenEye, had a habit of constantly twirling his pens and clicking on them when he's working or nervous. Bond has a pen that operates as a grenade, armed by clicking three times, disarmed by clicking three times. You do the math.
    • In Casino Royale (2006), Le Chiffre tends to place his fingers on his temple when he lies or bluffs, to still his nervous twitch (a minor plot point). Also, when particularly stressed, his medical condition — leaking blood from his left tear duct — kicks in.
    • Elliot Carver, of Tomorrow Never Dies, tends to outstretch his arms in a "You See" motion when making his grand speeches.
  • In Labyrinth Jareth frequently contact juggles a crystal ball.
  • The Last Command: Sergius has a non-stop head twitch. He explains that he "suffered a great shock once." It turns out that the head twitch dates from when he saw a train plunge off a bridge and into a river, with his lover aboard.
  • Laurel and Hardy:
    • Oliver Hardy twiddles his tie whenever he is frustrated.
    • Stan Laurel fiddles with his hair from the top and whimpers when upset.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015): Illya has a hand twitch when his Berserk Button is pressed. Not to mention his sharp Death Glare.
  • In Metropolis Robot!Maria's jerking her shoulders, whiplashing her neck and squinting her left eye a bit. Rotwang has a habit of raising his left eyebrow whilst thinking, Freder grabs hold of anybody who happens to be nearby when he rants, and Joh Fredersen grabs his hair with his hands on the rare occasions that he gets scared.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Sir Bedivere habitually lifts up the visor of his helmet to look at something or speak.
  • In Morgan, Morgan has a particular gesture in which she puts her hands palm down at the edge of a table, then turns them palm up. People get hurt soon after.
  • In the Ocean's Eleven movies, Rusty is seen eating something in almost every scene. His actor Brad Pitt explains it as stemming from the fact that busy as Rusty is, he never has the chance to sit down for a proper meal.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Captain Jack Sparrow runs with his arms in the air, flailing them as he moves. This has been dubbed "the lizard run" by fans of the series.
    • Captain Barbossa widens his eyes and tilts back his head when he emphasizes things in speech.
  • Prisoners: Detective Loki always blinks very slowly and deliberately.
  • In Road to Perdition, psychopathic hitman Harlan Maguire (Jude Law) has a habit of twirling a coin over his fingers in boredom or frustration. Pretty tame when you consider his other hobbies...
  • RoboCop: Murphy shows several tics that get carried over into Robocop, revealing the man beneath the machine. They become Robocop's trademarks:
    • The gun twirl, trademark of Show Within a Show character T.J. Lazer, which is how his partner recognized him after his death and cyborg makeover in RoboCop (1987).
    • Driving fast down the ramp in the police parking structure, bottoming out his suspension and scraping the bottom of his car against the ground.
  • In Secret Window, Mort's habit of opening his mouth and clicking his jaw, which occurs more and more often as he becomes more and more unhinged. This is an actual symptom of schizophrenia.
  • Splash: Madison tends to bite her lower lip when thinking or embarrassed.
  • In The Sting, Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) has many tics, including the way he holds a cup of coffee and the way he throws one shoulder back.

    Literature 
  • 1Q84: Aomamae is described as having beautiful facial features that, upon frowning or grimacing, make a "shocking transformation [that] terrified anyone who saw it..." She even uses this as a psychological weapon against men whom she wants to leave her alone.
  • In The Big Sleep, Carmen sucks her thumb, despite being about 20 years old, showing that she's got some screws loose.
  • Brandon Sanderson:
    • Elantris: Sarene taps her cheek with her index finger when she is deep in thought.
    • Wax and Wayne: Marasi has a tendency to blush furiously. She is well aware of it and feels this does not fit her image of a constable. And then there comes a moment when she realises she did not blush, which she takes as a sign that she's changed.
  • Isaac Asimov's "Catch That Rabbit": Gregory Powell sometimes pulls at the ends of his mustache when he's nervous. In this story, he tries to do that while wearing a spacesuit.
  • The Cat Who: Qwill tends to finger his luxuriant mustache when he's thinking. Apparently this can sometimes get a little violent, as he's occasionally described as "pounding" the mustache.
  • Children of Dune: The late Baron used to tap his fingers in a certain way. This is not genetic, and when one of his descendants does it, it's significant.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
    • Greg and Rodrick frown a lot.
    • Rowley and Fregley have their mouths open a lot.
  • In the Discworld novels, Lord Vetinari raises one eyebrow when he's faced with something particularly stupid, usually in conjunction with a deeply ironic remark. Lampshaded in Making Money, where Vetinari-wannabe Cosmo Lavish practices his eyebrow raising.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey: Anastasia is prone to flushing and blushing.
  • Flight of the Intruder gives us Lt. Cool Hand Grafton, who suffers from stress-related palsy when he's not flying.
  • Garrett, P.I.: Garrett does a Spock-like eyebrow trick when interviewing clients.
  • Gloves Of Virtue: Abigail has a habit of scratching her ankle with her toes when she's thinking over something. And that's just a small part of her weirdness.
  • Horatio Hornblower:
    • As a young man (from Midshipman to Hotspur) Hornblower's body language is always described with words like awkward or gangling. At one point Bush recognizes him from the back because of the ungainly way Hornblower is walking into the wind.
    • Bush tends to rub his hands together when pleased.
    • In Commodore Hornblower, Mound has his hands in his pockets. Rather, he keeps starting to put his hands in his pockets, remembers he's in the presence of the Commodore, and desists. Hornblower is distracted enough by this that he eventually orders the kid to just do it and quit fidgeting.
  • Jack Blank tends to run a hand through his hair when nervous or stressed. He's stressed a lot in Book 3.
  • John Buchan:
    • In the climactic scene of The Thirty-Nine Steps, Hannay has to decide whether a man he's watching is the master spy behind the plot (who is also a Master Actor) or just an innocent bystander. He's almost convinced the man is just an innocent bystander when the man makes a finger-tapping gesture that Hannay recognises from when he was a captive of the spy ring earlier in the book.
    • Similarly, near the climax of The Island of Sheep, Hannay begins to penetrate the facade of that novel's master of disguise when he recognises the way he's standing.
  • Journey to Chaos: Annala tugs on her ear when she's nervous or embarrassed. It's a trait unique to her for more than just her Pointy Ears. Other elves don't do this.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan (who's just slightly self-conscious about his height) tends to lift his chin defensively when under stress, especially in the earlier books.
  • Malediction Trilogy: Cecile has a tendency to bite the inside of her cheeks when she is thinking, especially if she's conflicted about an issue. Lara from The Bridge Kingdom Archives by the same author also does that from time to time.
  • Please Don't Tell My Parents You Believe Her: Penny's character tic of shrugging becomes plot significant when one of the recurring annoyances of her getting trapped in a robot body is that it cannot shrug.
  • In Savvy, Lester twitches his shoulders and stammers when he's afraid.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, Violet always ties back her hair when she's inventing something.
  • Sister Pelagia: In Pelagia and the Red Rooster, the eccentric prophet Emmanuel aka Manuila probably has a habit of scratching his leg (it is mentioned twice: once he "scratched his calf", and at another time he "was standing on one leg, scratching his ankle with the other foot").
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Arya often chews on her lip, a habit the Faceless Men try to stop her doing, as it's distinctive.
    • Stannis Baratheon keeps his jaw clenched and grinds his teeth.
    • After an incident in the first book, Jon frequently flexes his wounded hand. This was advised by the maester who treated the injury, to stop his tendons binding up.
  • In The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Captain has a tic where he constantly, whenever he thinks that nobody's watching, checks if his head scarf is still in place and as tight fitting as always, showing not one strand of hair. It drives Demane mad, who thinks the scarf sits tighter than a virgin's drawers and besides, the repetition is likely to draw more attention to the gesture than Captain would ever want.
  • In The Speed of Dark, everyone in Lou's section is autistic, so all his coworkers have at least one.
    • Eric doodles colorful geometric patterns.
    • Dale blinks his left eye.
    • Cameron twitches his arm, bounces, and plays with dice in his pocket.
    • Linda bounces her fingers in complex mathematical patterns and flaps her hands when she's excited.
    • Chuy twists his neck back and forth and grunts when he eats.
    • Bailey bites his lip and makes noises with his tongue.
    • Lou notes that his neurotypical crush Marjory flaps her hands sometimes, but nobody seems to notice because she's otherwise normal.
  • Sword of Truth: In the first book, both Richard and Darken Rahl have their tics. Richard runs his hands through his hair when gets nervous or exasperated, while Rahl licks his fingers and runs them over his lips and eyebrows habitually. Richard's tic clues Zedd in that the "Darken Rahl" they see is not, in fact, Darken Rahl, but he realizes it a moment too late.
  • Narrator Huckleberry Finn remarks that Tom Sawyer, in the lesser-known Mark Twain novel Tom Sawyer, Detective, has a habit of tracing the letter V on his cheek or chin when he's thinking deeply.
  • Twilight: Bella Swan often bites her lower lip, a trait she shares with Kristen Stewart.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Nynaeve often tugs her braid when she's agitated. And she is often agitated. About halfway through the series she decides this habit isn't dignified enough for someone who is supposed to be a Yellow Aes Sedai and Queen of Malkier. So now, whenever she's annoyed, she pauses and makes a visible effort to not tug her braid.
    • Most of the female characters smooth their skirts when they're nervous.
    • Thom knuckles his mustaches while thinking, Balwer dry washes his hands, Perrin scratches his beard, Julin removes his cap, crumples it, then puts it back on again. The series is rather swamped with character tics.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ally McBeal: John Cage, a brilliant but weird lawyer, had lots of tics, along with strange personal habits. The ones that were mentioned and exhibited most often were his whistling nose (he could whistle it when he wanted but at times he couldn't stop it whistling) and preparing his closing arguments barefoot.
  • Arrested Development: Buster has a tendency to rub his hands over his ears, usually when he is nervous. So he essentially perpetually rubs at his ears.
  • Austin & Ally: Ally chews her hair when she gets nervous.
  • On Babylon 5, both Londo and G'Kar had a tendency to tug on their lapels when giving speeches or when generally being pompous. Possibly a coincidence, but it also served as a subliminal reminder that the characters are more alike than they'd like to admit.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) has Bill Adama's habit, when making speeches to the whole crew, of holding a telephone handset upside down like a one-way microphone with his hand gripping the ear end. Later on in the show other characters started copying it.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Leonard has a habit of wringing his hands when he's nervous, usually when he's talking to women.
  • Blackadder:
    • As well as his Twitchy Eye, Captain Darling off Blackadder Goes Fourth also has a habit of squinting his left eye. Not to mention Blackadder's overpronunciation of his B's (due to Rowan Atkinson's stammer) and Melchett's bleating.
    • In Blackadder II, Queenie has a habit of shrieking like a little girl either when delighted or angry to fit in with her spoiled-brat character type.
  • British educational documentaries presented for the BBC by Dr Jonathan Miller, such as The Body in Question and Your Life in Their Hands were made compulsive viewing by Miller's vastly exaggerated hand movements when speaking. So much so that radio comedy show
  • Boston Legal: Jerry stomps, purrs, hops, and makes popping noises when he gets upset; in later episodes he pulls out a wooden cigarette as a crutch. This is, of course, ignoring his characteristic hands-on-your-knees style of walking and general social awkwardness.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Giles had a tic related to his glasses. He would take them off or put them on with essentially every emotional "beat" (eventually, this was lampshaded when Buffy worked out he did this to avoid having to see whatever was going on).
    • Warren has a distinctive downward chopping gesture that he makes with both hands when he's annoyed. This is used for a meaningful moment when Willow is being taken over by him in "The Killer Inside Me".
    • The Buffy eye-roll, given whenever someone (usually Xander or Spike) does something comically annoying.
  • The Burkiss Way opened their sound parody with:
    We now present Their Hands in Your Life, presented by Doctor Jonathan Miller, the only man whose hands are too loud for the deaf.
    • Magnus Pyke was known for his enthusiastic gesticulating as well and he, too, gets spoofed on several occasions.
  • CSI: Miami must be eligible for Horatio Caine's habit of putting his hands on his hips while wearing sunglasses. And his habit of putting on sunglasses for dramatic pronouncements. Or, if he's already wearing them, adjusting them. Or taking them off, and putting them on again a moment later. And let's not forget that he never kneels like a normal person; he always gets down on one knee, as if to propose. (Granted, it's an easier position to get up from when you're only going to be kneeling for about five seconds, but Horatio kneels a lot.)
  • Daredevil (2015): Wilson Fisk tends to awkwardly rub the fingers of each hand together when talking, emphasizing his Ambiguous Disorder in social situations.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show did it with Dick's famous "now I'm drunk, now I'm sober" schtick.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The First Doctor would often gesture with his hands close to his face. Peter Purves, who played his companion Steven Taylor, said that this was William Hartnell's response to not being able to gesture broadly in the same way as you could on stage, because TV was "small" (i.e., it didn't capture all the action across the whole set all the time). He would also flutter his hands when trying to decide something. He also tended to clutch at his jacket lapels. He often ends sentences with a distinctive 'hmm?' and ful-fblu-I mean-flubs his lines (although never breaking character), even becoming The Unintelligible at times, and tends to deliberately forget people's names as a form of Malicious Misnaming, particularly with Chesterton (stemming from a Throw It In! of the actor's tendency to forget the character's name in the first few serials). His movements tend to be quite jerky, almost to the point of trembling, and his facial expressions tend towards the smirky.
    • The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) had a habit of wringing his hands constantly. The Eleventh Doctor imitated this. If he couldn't wring his hands, he'd twiddle his fingers and drum them on things, such as his other hand. Also lots and lots of eyebrow quirking.
    • The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee):
      • He had a habit of saying, "Yes, well" to start his sentences, answering "Yes, of course", humming a ditty when tinkering on things, displaying a half-interested attitude when people try talking to him while he's working with lab equipment, and touting a very cheeky grin when he makes a clever joke.
      • John Levene, who played Benton, pointed out in a DVD commentary that once Pertwee realized he had a habit of rubbing his neck, his conscious attempts to stop resulted in a habit of touching his mouth, his conscious attempts to stop resulted in a habit of rubbing his neck again. Occasionally he touches his ear, just to mix it up.
      • He tends to speak with his hands on his hips or leaning up against things if he's in a happy mood, and has very dramatic, sharp movements.
    • The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) is made of these. He even invented a lot of standard tics used by many later Doctors:
      • He almost constantly boggles his eyes out and stares at things unsettlingly. You will rarely see him blink on screen, even if you're looking for it. His eyes don't quite point in the same direction, especially when he's panicking, surprised or in a loopy mood.
      • His distinctive grin is a thing of pure horror and deployed generously. (Christopher Eccleston borrowed a dead-eyed, Hurting Hero version of it for his Doctor.)
      • He tends to run his hand through his hair when he's about to concentrate on something. (David Tennant borrowed this for his Doctor too.) Occasionally fiddles with it if he's in a happy mood - see Peter Davison's impression of this, then being shocked at his new hair, in "Castrovalva" for a really funny moment.
      • He generally has the opposite energy level of everything around him. If people around him are stern and serious, he'll be in a wild, hyperactive hurry; if people around him are panicking, he'll be motionless and even somewhat bored.
      • When really angry, he will snap in a surprisingly high-pitched voice compared to his usual tone.
      • Saying "What!" whenever he heard something he didn't like.
      • Cocking his head and going "Ah, well..." whenever he was about to deliver technobabble. (David Tennant deliberately invoked that last one with his Doctor too.)
      • Cheeky little hand-waves.
      • A lot of his gestures call attention to his unusually big and awkward-looking nose - tapping or pushing on the side for 'on the nose' or 'it's a secret', prodding it, pinching the bridge or the tip in frustration, stroking it in thought.... even the very few times he's being flirty he tends to do so by delicately touching his nose.
      • He would often step on his scarf by accident, which always makes him cross.
      • When entering a corridor or entering a room, he always strikes a pose, rushes in flapping all over the place or enters in some other weird way, with Tom Baker's aim being to 'never enter a room the same way twice'. This supposedly started from frustration with the lack of camera angle and lighting variation possible in most of the cheap sets The BBC used and the stereotypical Doctor Who fascination with substituting action with running down identical corridors, and so becomes very obvious in the more claustrophobic and corridor-based serials, like "Horror of Fang Rock". Since the Fourth Doctor is a massive Attention Whore and a ham to end all hams, it works really well.
      • He never looks at his hands when going for his pockets, so whenever he does he flails his hands around in a rather comical fashion before finding them.
      • He really likes having things in his mouth. Whenever he's fixing, making or sabotaging some sort of device, he will inevitably put one of the tools or parts into his mouth to hold it while he works on it with his hands, even if it'd make more sense for him to just put the item down. If nothing's available he tends to chew on his thumbnail. (This is deliberately alluded to in "Deep Breath" when the post-regenerative-traumatised Twelve bites his thumb while contemplating how much he needs a really long scarf.) He also has a habit of licking his lips whenever he's excited. (David Tennant borrowed this one, too!)
      • If there is a chair he has a standard routine where he will begin to sit on it, and then has a sudden flash of insight just before touching the seat and stands back up again. Particularly hilarious in "The Seeds of Doom" where he actually brings a chair over from another room just to do this to it.
      • If he's sitting down he tends to put his legs up on anything he can - other people's desks, and so on. Note particularly when he props his legs up on the top of Bessie's windscreen in his first story - something the Third Doctor would find unthinkable.
      • Remember Sarah Jane's line in "School Reunion" about the Doctor 'stroking' the TARDIS? This is the Doctor she was talking about. Note particularly the funny way the Sutekh-Doctor caresses the door switch open in the last part of "Pyramids of Mars".
    • Like with the First Doctor, the Sixth Doctor had a tendency to clutch his jacket lapels.
    • The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) had his rrrolling Rrrs. He also flapped and fluttered his hands around ebulliently. He likes to twitch his eyebrows up and down rapidly when being deliberately funny.
    • The Eighth Doctor (in the novels, anyway) had a habit of repeating words five or six times whenever he was excited or upset. He would also stand right in people's faces, totally oblivious to how uncomfortable they might be. And of course, he also had a tendency to kiss people without warning...
    • The Ninth Doctor tended to do a big, toothy grin often accompanied with cute little hand gestures, directly lifted from the Fourth Doctor; the key difference being that Four looked genuinely happy and adorable when he did it, even if he was being alien and terrifying, and the Ninth manages to just look alien and terrifying. His genuine smiles are simultaneously both more toned down, and bigger and goofier. He seems to attempt to make his eyes bulge out Four-style too, but the actor just can't do it, instead compensating by raising his eyebrows up really, really high. When being serious, he tends to punctuate his speech with sharp little head-nods to draw emphasis to certain words. He was also found of doing the Badass Arm-Fold.
    • The Tenth Doctor:
      • He runs his hands through his hair when he's frustrated.
      • He dramatically dons his glasses when it's time to look clever (borrowed from the Fifth Doctor).
      • He presses his tongue to the roof of his mouth when he's thinking or working on something.
      • "...and my voice going all squeaky when I shouted, I still do that! I got that from you." ("You" being the Fifth Doctor.)
      • Shoving his hands in his pockets when confronting enemies or antagonistic characters.
      • Rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet while talking, especially to aforementioned enemies and antagonists.
      • Pulling on his earlobe or rubbing the back of his neck when uncomfortable or embarrassed (usually brought on by Donna).
      • The Left Eyebrow. It has its own Tumblr-page.
      • The long, drawn-out "Well..." when he's about to explain something (borrowed from the Fourth Doctor).
    • The Eleventh Doctor:
      • Drawing things in the air to arrive at epiphanies.
      • Wringing his hands when nervous or when musing things over (See also; The Second Doctor down)
      • Flapping his hands in a "what the heck do I do with these?!"-manner when kissed.
      • Turning 270 degrees to the right to turn left (and the other way around). (This is why he's walking with a cane in 'The Time Of The Doctor'. Matt Smith tore the meniscus in his knee doing this.)
      • Randomly spinning in a full circle.
      • Fiddling with his bowtie before embarking on a course of action and/or after arguing with someone.
      • Repeating words over and over when flustered, often changing their tone each time "Yes yes yes of course yes of course!" etc.
      • Snapping his fingers before pointing at someone or something, which he does before explaining something about said person or thing.
    • The Thirteenth Doctor:
      • Scrunching her face up when she's confused or frustrated.
      • Bending her entire torso backwards when she's voicing said frustration.
      • Pressing her lips tightly together in stressful or serious moments. (Fans have dubbed this the "Polite Thirteen"-face due to its resemblance to the Polite Cat-meme.)
      • She has two tics in correspondence to anger: the aforementioned face scrunching, and an emotionless stare combined with very quiet and flat speech, though the last is also used for moments of helplessness.
    • The tics of the first four Doctors are imitated by the Fifth Doctor in his state of confusion after having regenerated. Particularly amusing is when he goes to bury his hand into his curls Four-style, realises he has shorter, straight hair now, and has a puzzled, disappointed reaction.
    • The impressionist Jon Culshaw is a big Doctor Who fanboy (admitting his taste for velvet jackets is stolen from the Third Doctor) and discusses these endlessly. There's a video here of him discussing the main, defining Character Tic of each Doctor for the amusement of David Tennant. (In his words, and in order starting with the Second Doctor and skipping the Eighth: "a scowl", "very sharp" mannerisms, "eyes and teeth and the alien-ness", "hands in his pockets, must dash!!", "tends to enunciate... Hmm! Howveryinteresting!! Mmm!", "fingers and thumbs", "with his swagger and the jacket on", "another kind of eyes and teeth".)
    • During Series 5, Amy would occasionally bulge her eyes and pucker her mouth — known to fans as the :I face. Karen Gillan seemed to be making a conscious effort to stop this, as Amy didn't do this tic during the entirety of Series 6. She also has a habit of crying silently.
    • All Doctors tend to speak quickly when inspired.
  • Due South: Benton Fraser has at least two. When he's nervous he'll either rub his eyebrow with his thumbnail or tug gently at his left ear.
  • Dune: Baron Vladimir Harkonnen has a distinctive habit of rubbing his right temple when he's frustrated. Later on, Paul Atreides does this himself, demonstrating the family connection between the two. In Children of Dune, we see Alia performing the gesture when she hears the Baron's voice in her head.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond: Robert Barone always touches food to his chin before eating it. According to Ray Romano, his Real Life brother (who Robert is based on) also does this.
  • Firefly:
    • Simon is good at this. One of the best was when River told Jubal, "I don't think your intentions are honorable" and Simon squinted (saying "Oh, really?")
    • Also, Jayne is frequently seen curiously touching things, such as Simon's birthday cake and the hologram in the hospital.
  • The Flash (2014)'s Dr Harrison Wells has quite a few tics, including gesturing with his hands, keeping a hand near his chin when thinking and shifting his jaw and lower lip. Most noticeable is his habit of taking his glasses off when prodding Barry about his past or giving him tips on how best to use his speed. He also takes his glasses off whenever he's no longer pretending to be Wells. Additionally, he rubs the back of his neck a lot, especially when he has stood up out of his wheelchair.
  • Frasier: Niles and Frasier Crane have a habit of mouthing wordlessly whenever they're surprised, confused, or offended. They also adopt a near-identical raised-eyebrow sideways glare whenever they're suspicious, among other tics. Given that they're brothers, this is almost certainly an intentionally communicated agreement between Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce. Kelsey Grammer has also openly stated that he swiped several of Frasier's tics from Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason, and Bette Davis.
  • Friends: Chandler flails his hands when he's nervous or excited.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Osha has a tendency to cock her head to the side when she's speaking. Tormund also does the same thing.
    • When Tywin is nervous or enraged, he may keep a straight face, but watch as his hands squeeze and flex around a small object.
    • Cersei is constantly smirking when she's too pleased with herself, which happens all the time when nobody puts her in her place. Her brows usually go in sync too.
    • Tyrion has a penchant for whistling when he's happy, and gets happier if this sign of his incoming presence is annoying somebody else. His reliance on alcohol also increases over time, to the degree that his reaching for a decanter of wine in virtually every scene becomes a tic.
    • Stannis grinds his teeth and scowls a lot. In the books, it's said that if you listen closely at night in Dragonstone you can hear Stannis grinding his teeth from anywhere in the castle.
    • Littlefinger only smiles with one side of his mouth, usually when being smug about something, so it naturally happens a lot.
    • Varys usually hides his hands in his robes.
    • Ever since her training in Braavos, Arya develops a tic of standing with her hands behind her back.
    • As a result of his indoctrination into Reek, Theon has great difficulty making eye contact; also, perhaps as a physical side-effect of all the torture, he's also prone to twitching during times of stress.
  • Get Shorty: Miles hides his religious pendant under his shirt collar whenever he's about to do something he'll feel guilty about.
  • Glee's Kurt Hummel almost always fixes his hair while singing a high note, and always sits with his legs crossed.
  • In Happy Days, Fonzie tends to sit in strange places like on the kitchen bench and on the sink.
  • Heroes:
    • Hiro certainly pushes his glasses further up his face a lot. He also tends to fling his arms in the air, usually while shouting "Yatta!" (but sometimes other things, like "Frying Man!" or "Vote Petrelli!"), and scrunches up his face especially tight while using his powersnote .
    • Like Magneto, Sylar often points with two fingers held together whenever he's using telekinesis and does so while flicking his wrist to throw people across a room, despite the fact that we see that on numerous occasions gesturing is not required. This is gesturing is later explained as him fine-tuning his ability to a precision point, which fits with how it's often used to cut open people's heads to steal their powers.
  • Kamen Rider: Pretty much every modern Rider has one, but it's actually plot-relevant in Kamen Rider 555. Since the Rider Gears change hands a lot, Character Tics are usually the only way to know who's using one; The Hero Takumi's tic is flicking his wrist, while The Rival Kusaka's is adjusting his collar.
    • Kamen Rider Den-O also has particularly visible examples of this trope, since a character possessed by an Imajin takes on their mannerisms. This reaches its peak with (Super) Climax Form, which has 4-5 entities possessing Den-O at the same time and switching constantly.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid has an amusing Throw It In! version: Since the show has an overarching Video Games theme, the Transformation Trinkets are made to look like video game cartridges. While filming the first episode, Ex-Aid's suit actor Seiji Takaiwa decided to pantomime "blowing" into the device when he performed Ex-Aid's Finishing Move. The staff felt that it suited the feel of the series so well that they told him he could keep doing it.
  • Keeping Up Appearances: Characters have a tendency to repeat phrases over and over. In fact, all of Roy Clarke's characters tend to repeat phrases over and over. They do. They repeat things. Over and over.
  • Lie to Me: Dr. Lightman licks his front teeth when he's figuring something out, usually when a lie has made him particularly angry or was particularly hard to catch. Torres has done the same thing once or twice. He also has a habit of hunching over, tilting his head, peering intently at someone and getting really uncomfortably close to them when he's being scrutinizing or irritable. It's implied he does this on purpose to psych them out and make them easier to read. His head is tilted a lot, even when he's not doing this, which distracts from the fact that his right eye is slightly higher than his left.
  • Maniac: Dr. Fujita often pushes her Nerd Glasses up her nose and has a habit of hunching forward with her hands in her jacket pockets. Dr. Mantleray often tosses the bangs of his wig out of his eyes.
  • Married... with Children:
    • Al Bundy slips his hand into the waistband of his trousers when he's relaxing in front of the TV. His daughter Kelly temporarily adopts this along with her father's personality in the episode "The Good-Bye Girl" after a rough day at her new job at a TV-based tourist attraction. Al also puts his hands in his pockets and smirks in a sanctimonious fashion when he feels someone else is about to get their comeuppance.
    • Marcy had a tendency to shake her finger when admonishing someone, especially Al.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Whenever something unexpected, terrible, idiotic, annoying, or incomprehensible happens, Malcolm will scrunch up his nose and forehead to display prominent wrinkles. Very often, he follows this by sharing a pointed glance with the audience (in fact, one of the earliest instances of this expression is prominently featured in the Title Montage.)
  • Monday Mornings: Dr Buck Tierney has a habit of pulling himself up and down and making a squeaky sound with his shoes.
  • Modern Family:
    • Mitchell's fondness for rolling his eyes is well-documented. He and Claire also share a tendency to wordlessly mouth mocking and/or disapproving remarks.
    • Cam's swishy hand gestures. They're almost their own character.
    • Claire's various character tics get brutally lampshaded when she's practicing for a political debate, and her family keeps docking her for said tics (judgemental finger pointing, angry hands on hips, sour facial expressions, etc). Hilarity Ensues when she tries — and fails — to repress these tics during the actual debate.
  • Monk has a lot of these: neck-crinking, fingers steepled, hands in front when examining crime scenes... it's compounded by his obsessive-compulsive tendencies. It's eventually revealed that the finger-steepling is something he got from his father. That is what appears in the page image.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Detective William Murdoch, a devout Catholic, will make the sign of the cross whenever he's first confronted to the dead body of the Victim of the Week. As such, it happens about Once per Episode.
  • Parks and Recreation' has Chris Traeger, who always points emphatically at other characters and says their name when they encounter each other.
  • Peaky Blinders:
    • Tommy always rubs the tip of his cigarette against his lip before he lights it. He also tends to wag his finger at people when he's telling them off, usually his brothers.
    • Alfie Solomons strokes his beard when he's thinking.
  • Power Rangers in Space: Andros, the Red Space Ranger keeps his hair untied and often unknowingly tucks a strand behind ear.
  • Scrubs:
    • Dr Cox's habit of touching his nose. According to actor John C. McGinley, this is an homage to Paul Newman's character in The Sting. Also how he puts his hands behind his head when he's upset — this was lampshaded at some point in Season 7. Also, whenever he takes off a pair of medical gloves, he always uses the elastic to ping them away. That last one is actually the way you're supposed to take off gloves to minimize exposure.
    • Scrubs also features The Todd, whose signature high-fives are always followed by him snapping his fingers and pointing at the recipient.
    • Elliot blowing hair out of her face, which emphasizes her neuroticism.
    • Deconstructed with Dr. Casey, who has many tics because they are a result of his OCD.
    • J.D cocks his head when he's about to fly off into a daydream.
  • In Seinfeld, Cosmo Kramer is very expressive with his hands, tends to wobble his head in all directions when worked up, often slides across the floor when entering rooms, and is prone to exaggerated pratfalls.
  • Sesame Street:
    • Don Music bangs his head on the piano when he's frustrated. This caused parents to complain their kids were copying him, so the writers scrapped the character as opposed to, y'know, scrapping the tic.
    • Bert facepalms and/or keels over when frustrated.
      • Mr. Johnson also keels over when frustrated.
    • When Elmo is bemused, his left eye sinks into his face. He and Zoe also walk slowly when sad.
    • When Big Bird is frustrated, he rants made-up words.
    • Natasha "shakes her shoe and says, 'cuckoo'" when she's happy and she also blows raspberries a lot.
    • Julia flaps her arms when she's excited, although that's more supposed to be because she's autistic than because she's Julia.
  • Shoestring: Eddie doodles when he's nervous or concentrating. He also rubs his fingers together, wrings his hands, and plays with anything he happens to be holding, including his tie.
  • Star Trek:
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Man Trap," Nancy Crater the salt vampire has a habit of putting the knuckle of her index finger in her mouth. Then we see Dr. McCoy doing the same gesture...
      • Speaking of McCoy, he tends to hold his hands behind his back.
    • Sulu had a habit of calling out countdowns in stressful situations. While it's possible that this is a part of his job as a bridge officer, other characrters' frequent annoyance at this tendency sugguests that it probably isn't.
    • Uhura sits sideways on her chair when she wants to look out the window.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • Picard's habit of straightening his uniform whenever he stands up. Nicknamed "the Picard Maneuver" by the production staff, it was given a Shout-Out on the show as a battle tactic the character invents also called the Picard Maneuver. He also often made a little flicking motion with his hand when he said "Engage," which is something Kirk used to do. Pulaski and Riker also play with their uniforms a lot.
      • Then there's Lore's facial tic, which comes in handy when you need to distinguish him from Data. In addition, he smirks a lot.
      • Data has a few of his own, such as tilting his head to one side or the other when he is confused. It's apparently the body language equivalent of a hard drive clicking. This is lampshaded in "Hero Worship" where Data is tending to a human boy who is trying to act just like Data note  and Data cannot get him to hold still to brush the boy's hair. Data realizes this tic could be distracting to others.
      • Characters in this and later series tend to touch their communicator badge when making or receiving a call. It isn't strictly necessary, as saying "[X] to [Y]" or "[Y] here" would open the channel. It is probably force of habit on the part of the characters ("picking up the phone", as it were).
      • Q snaps his fingers to invoke his powers. Another Q, named Quinn, had a two fingered swirl-and-raise thing that served the same function.
      • Riker has two notable tics: leaning on top of different objects (e.g. tables and consoles), and sitting down by throwing his leg over the back of the chair (much like mounting a horse), both due to Jonathan Frakes' height and problems with back pain.
      • Troi has a habit of randomly changing her expression, possibly related to her ability to sense emotions. Her voice also cracks when she's very unhappy.
      • Geordi chuckles a lot, often appears to be holding hands with himself, and rubs his visor when he has a headache.
      • Reg Barclay stammers when he's nervous.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • Odo's businesslike nod, which is usually a kind of nonverbal shorthand for "consider it done." He also often stands up with his arms folded or puts his hand to his chin in a thoughtful manner.
      • Garak widens his eyes in a distinctive fashion when he's being very sincere, very sarcastic, or attempting to disguise one as the other. He also often looks in random directions when speaking.
      • Sisko steeples his fingers when he's thinking. He also has a habit of patting his fist into his other palm whenever he's working over a problem as though he's wearing a baseball glove.
      • Dax walks with her hands behind her back, which she picked up from one of The Symbiote's previous hosts.
      • O'Brien often has his mouth slightly open and his eyes slightly squinted, especially when he's confused or thinking.
      • Kira's voice goes higher when she cries.
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • In "Dark Frontier", Chakotay notes that Captain Janeway always fiddles with her comm badge when she's plotting something, a character tic that had never been seen before or since in the series. More accurately, Janeway has a tendency to place her hands on her hips, which unfortunately turns out to be the worst insult imaginable for one alien species that communicates through body language. She also whispers when she's being very serious.
      • Kes tends to sob more than the others when she cries.
      • Seven of Nine has a particular way of looking around and she strides when she walks (striding is common for Star Trek characters, but especially Seven of Nine).
    • Phlox from Star Trek: Enterprise often smiles widely or says, "Hmm!".
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Daniel Jackson tends to subtly furrow his eyebrows and lips when frustrated (although that's probably more Michael Shanks). Although this lessened later in the series, for at least the first two seasons, Daniel had a habit of licking his lips or biting them when he was thinking or was interrupted. Late in the show, he also has the tendency to let his head drop forward whenever he's frustrated or bemused.
    • Teal'c falls victim quite frequently to the Spock Eyebrows — so frequently that it's been lampshaded on multiple occasions. Once, Teal'c interrogated a prisoner simply by raising his eyebrows. He also clenches his jaw when he's irked.
    • Col. Carter's momentary grimace anytime she either does something wrong, or bad things are about to happen.
  • Stargate Atlantis: Rodney McKay snaps his fingers when he's trying to remember something, and shakes his finger (like he's scolding you) when he's thinking really hard. The actor once snapped his fingers at his girlfriend by mistake when he'd been playing McKay all day. As McKay is an asshole, this didn't go down too well. According to David Hewlett, his then-girlfriend/now-wife gives him a 10-minute grace period after he comes home to shed his McKay-isms. After that...
  • Stefan Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries frequently points (with his hand in what could be considered a relaxed version of the American Sign Language sign for "I love you") while working out logical puzzles or trying to determine someone's motives. Also, when attempting to appear more menacing—or flirtatious—his brother Damon does what is sometimes referred to as "the eye thing" where he alternately bulges and squints his eyes for emphasis.
  • Castiel from Supernatural tilts his head to the side when he's confused. It seems to be a species-wide trait, but he displays it the most.
  • The Thick of It has a really cringeworthy one with "blinky dork" Ben Swain. Jamie calls his nervous blinking "epilepsy of the eyes."
  • Too Old To Die Young:
    • Martin often spits on the ground, seemingly to show derision.
    • Theo snorts constantly in some scenes. It's never made clear whether this is due to some mundane sinus issue or a hint that he's a coke fiend.
  • From Verbotene Liebe we have Christian fingerpointing.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Daryl will bite his thumb whenever he's apprehensive.
    • Shane tends to rub his head whenever he's stressed.
    • Tara will perform a fist bump with people to show her respect for them.
    • Negan tends to lean back in order to show confidence. He stops doing it in Season 9, in order to show how broken he's become, only for it to make a grand return in the Season 10 episode, "What It Always Is".
    • Dante has a tendency to click his tongue, which is what allows Siddiq to realize that he's The Mole for The Whisperers.
  • The Wire: Bodie spits through his teeth, usually when annoyed.
  • In The X-Files, Agent Mulder is always putting things in his mouth — usually sunflower seeds, but in the first season especially, he can also be caught munching on paper clips.
  • Ultra Series: The various Ultras similarly have fighting stances that help differentiate them. The original Ultraman, for example, hunches his body with his hands up and slightly open while Ultraseven takes more of a boxer's pose, with both hands balled up into fists at about chest height.
  • In The Worst Witch, Miss Hardbroom teleports a lot more than other witches.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • CM Punk twisting his wrists as a warmup before his match.
  • Goldberg had a tendency to lean on the ring ropes during promos in the ring.
  • John Cena fidgets with his hat during promos sometimes, usually taking it off and rubbing his head during "Awkward" or "Thinking" moments.
  • After he unmasked, Kane used to constantly touch his hand to his face during matches, as if checking for blood. With the mask on he'll usually throw his head back, to keep the hair out of his face.
  • If Kevin Nash has one free hand (or both), you can bet he'll be flipping his hair back. In real life, people have also noticed his tendency of keeping his hand in his pocket.
  • Lex Luger had this unhealthy obsession with touching himself. Proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYDehCkc5rI
  • Minoru Suzuki often sticks out his tongue for no apparent reason after a promo. Oh, and also beating up some Young Lions at ringside.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin will cock his head left and right while cutting a promo.
  • The Undertaker points to someone or something during promos with the hand holding the mic. Always.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show: Kermit tends to scrunch his face in (by means of his puppeteer clenching the hand operating his head) whenever one of the other Muppets does something particularly nonsensical.

    Roleplay 
  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Mirielle's habit of offering food to people when she's introduced to them, or when they seem to be in distress, seems at times to be an instinctual tic.
    • To help her concentrate when using her superpower, telepath and musician Zia will tap out a beat with her hand or foot.

    Video Games 
  • Another Code: Ashley Robbins tends to lean forward slightly and tilt her head to the right when speaking to people.
  • BlazBlue: In the story mode, characters only have 3 sprites - neutral, pre-fight and "defeated", and they do something unique in each. Though they also have certain other tics outside those sprites, such as Ragna face-palming, Nine holding a fire on her palm, or Azrael putting his hand on his pockets.
  • Chrono Trigger:
    • Magus has a habit of readjusting his gloves. He usually does it when focusing a spell.
    • Robo has one too, after doing something that takes a bit of effort, his casing opens up and a hissing sound is heard. This is definitely a Justified Trope, as he's venting out heat since he's, well, a robot. Done to sinister effect when it's done by his brothers, the rest of the R-Series, after they beat the crap out of him. All six of them do it. Then, one of them picks up his battered body and throws it down a disposal shoot, which is a simple task, but he does it again, showing how trivially they think of disposing one of their own.
    • Lucca moves her glasses up and down, possibly adjusting them, as a substitute for raising unseen eyebrows. She does it when she takes notice of something, and usually doesn't stop until something else happens.
  • Crash Bandicoot: Starting from the third game, Coco tends to flip her hair every so often.
  • Destiny:
    • Cayde-6 twirls his pistol almost every time he pulls it out, Revolver Ocelot-style.
    • Uldren Sov is very emotive with his arms, gesturing and waving them around a lot when he’s speaking. He also tends to punctuate for emphasis when sufficiently angry or annoyed.
    • The Spider has very fidgety hands and uses a ghost shell as a makeshift fidget toy. Some lore entries indicate that this is a bit of a nervous tic for him; he knows full well that the Guardians could easily kill him and is constantly on edge when they’re around, despite his seemingly calm demeanor.
    • Dominus Ghaul has a noticeable tendency to lightly clench his fists when stressed or pensive.
  • Devil May Cry: Vergil flips his hair back often. It's also used in his default taunt. As shown in the third game, when he has his hair down (due to the rain), he looks awfully similar to his twin Dante, but one hair flip later and it's back to shape, making the tic a way to separate himself from his brother.
  • Gale in Digital Devil Saga has a habit of touching the bridge of his nose reminiscent of the way a person might adjust their glasses. Supposedly it's because he is the partial reincarnation of the scientist David, who was Jenna Angel's lover in the real world. The forehead touch is similar to a "phantom limb" effect: David wore glasses, and switching from wearing glasses for years to not wearing glasses still leaves behind the feeling of wearing glasses.
  • Disgaea:
    • Laharl tends to have his arms folded across his chest, no matter what his mood is at the time. This applies both to his in-game sprite and his cutscene portraits.
    • Valvatorez from Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten likes to sweep his cape whenever he is being dramatic. Which is often.
  • Several of the cast of Dragon Age: Inquisition have at least one of these. Josephine frequently punctuates the air with her quill while she's talking. Cullen, when embarrassed or uncomfortable (and particularly during his romance arc), will do the Hand Behind Head gesture to rub the back of his neck. Dorian tends to prop one elbow on the opposite arm and touch his chin when thinking or pontificating. Leliana often puts her hands behind her back, which is a bit of Fridge Brilliance considering that she's the spymaster and is ensuring that her hands reveal nothing of her thoughts.
  • Elsword: All characters will do something unique to each character if you activate an emoticon. There are also purchasable idle poses for each characters that'll make them hold their weapons in certain ways. That's on top of their Ass-Kicking Pose and Victory Pose, which can be different for their different Prestige Classes, showing their divergent developments.
  • In Eternal Sonata, Allegretto tends to be very expressive with his hands when talking.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI: Edgar tends to wag his finger a lot. It's even his spell-casting pose.
    • Final Fantasy VII relies on this a lot due to the fact that the stylised look of the game meant a repertoire of gestures was the best way to convey character personality. Many of the little gestures developed this way got carried over to less stylised depictions of the characters in their various sequels and cameos.
      • Cloud's very posey and theatrical, but in a consciously cool sort of way. He flips his hair, strikes a particular pose with one hand on his hip and his leg forward, and does a very distinctive over-the-top full-body shrug. He also tends to grab his mouth and tap his foot while thinking, and scratch the back of his head. When freaking out he grabs his head with both hands and shakes.
      • Barret loves pumping his forearm for emphasis.
      • Aerith likes to take the Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose a lot.
      • Tifa likes to stretch her arms and flaps them up and down when she's irritated.
      • Yuffie shadow-boxes when showing off.
      • Rufus flips his hair a lot.
      • Sephiroth has a distinctive laugh where he will slump his shoulders & laugh with such force that he started to shake, a laugh he shares with his father, Hojo. He would also raise and spread his arms, and look up at the sky while giving speeches.
      • Hojo walks with his hands clasped behind his back.
      • A rather odd example occurs when near the beginning of the game, Cloud has to engage in a contest with body builders, doing the most squats in a time limit without screwing up. He has to practice the motions first, then start the competition (and could possibly lose miserably.) Later, one might notice Cloud loves doing squats effortlessly, usually in flashbacks. This is an extremely subtle hint that things may not be as they seem. As a result of this, Zack has this tic too, it's his preferred workout method but he even does it when he's not working out. The flashbacks are all about Zack, with Cloud replacing him as he believes he's Zack.
      • Kadaj, of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, has a tendency to sort of twitch his face if things aren't going his way.
      • While not exactly this trope, Sephiroth never blinks, and has extremely shallow breathing animations, even while tossing buildings at Cloud. He also has a distinctively light, acrobatic way of moving that he didn't in the game. He also never lets go of or sheathes his sword, which is odd, because he was always leaving it behind in the original game.
    • Final Fantasy VIII:
      • As in most other games, all of the characters have a defined pose they do when initiating/ending a fight which shows of their individuality. Squall will rest his Gunblade on his shoulder and swing it a couple of times and cooly turn his back against the opponent. Zell warms up before a fight and loudly celebrates shaking his fists in the air after winning. Quistis, being the elegant, collected one, lashes with her whip going into a fray and afterwards stretches and relaxes. Selphie, the spirited and spunky girl, throws her arms in the air before resting her Nunchaku on her shoulders and doing a sassy pose. Irvine, in keeping with his cool sniper façade, twirls his rifle around and cockily salutes with his hat, whereas Rinoa, the high-class rebel girl who is new to fighting, seems a bit nervous and sighs in relief then the battle is over. Pretty much every action each character does, like casting a spell or even sitting, will be animated in a particular way to showcase their personality.
      • Squall adjusts his weight. A lot. Standing still on the World Map lets you watch him constantly adjusting his standing position. He also facepalms. A lot. He enters battle with his Gunblade resting over his shoulder and ends it by doing the same. Later on, in Dissidia, this becomes his default stance. As a verbal tic, "Whatever" and "..." comprise a sizable portion of his "dialogue". Finally, when Squall is in a critical situation such as facing a tough decision, he tends to throw his arm horizontally across his face VERY dramatically.
      • Selphie tilts her head to the side several times, tends to dance in place, pumps her fist in the air and will occasionally pull up one leg, then the other, like she's checking the bottom of her shoes. She will also throw her arms down to her sides when arguing, and trust her to immediately lay down on the nearest bed available, spreading her arms wide like she owns the place.
      • Rinoa has her trademark "Point towards the sky" pose. She also will brush her hair off her forehead repeatedly and tends to squat and almost hug her legs when feeling vulnerable. She's prone to "cute" gestures, such as dangling her feet when she sits.
      • Zell shadowboxes. Like, a LOT, whenever he grows bored, which drives Seifer up the wall. He also punches the ground at times (which is actually one of his Limit Break finisher moves) and most of his gestures are very exaggerated to showcase his loud persona.
      • Irvine, who tries hard to look like a cool, detached cowboy-sniper, will typically tend to strike cool poses, touch his hat and take aim at things with an imaginary pistol. He also sways his hands around, similar to Jack Sparrow.
      • Quistis' gestures showcase her smart-elegant characterization. She will only laugh when putting her hand up to her face to cover he mouth, for example, and when she sits, she'll do it like her legs are glued together, the way a "proper lady" in Japanese culture would.
      • Seifer, the cocky jerk anti-villain, will wave his Gunblade around at the first opportunity he gets and is always pointing at people with it. We're talking cutscenes, not battle here, mind you.
      • Even characters who don't get as much screen time have them. Laguna has a limp that manifests itself only when nervous (usually around the object of his affections) and rubs the back of his head a lot, Kiros, a cool, reserved guy will cross his arms over his chest and Ward will wave his hand in front of his face to indicate something it's a bad idea, a character trait he shares with Raijin. His partner, Fujin, only speaks in one-word sentences, despite showing on occasion that she's capable of speaking normally. She'll also throw her hand to the side a lot.
    • Final Fantasy IX:
      • Zidane bends over slightly to scratch his butt, which makes him seem very monkey-like when combined with the fact that he also has a tail.
      • It may just be a talking animation that translates poorly, but Quina appears to sniff the air quite often.
      • Vivi will fiddle with his hat when nervous.
    • Final Fantasy XV: Noctis likes to put his hands on his hips and bend from side to side at the waist while 'listening' to other people talk.
    • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest: Benjamin has a notable habit of shrugging at the screen whenever he encounters something — or someone — weird, or when the Old Man gives him an instruction with no information. (So basicially the whole game.)
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Recurring character Anna always, no matter what, will have a finger resting on her cheek or chin.
    • Three Houses has a few of these:
      • Byleth often gestures by holding out their arm, bent at the elbow and palm out, when conversing with someone, since they don't talk.
      • Claude always twirls an arrow before he fires it.
      • Sylvain tends to hold his hands behind his head.
      • Felix puts a hand on his hip when speaking to people.
      • Marianne is usually clasping her hands together and keeps her head down when she talks to people to convey her crippling shyness.
      • Ferdinand tends to place a palm to one side of his head when talking, especially if things get dumb.
  • Guilty Gear. Sol Badguy popping his neck.
  • Half-Life: The G-Man has some very noticeable ones. He straightens his (always perfectly straight) tie, and brushes non-existent dust off his suit. It gives the impression that he knows humans have Character Tics so decided to imitate a few without knowing their actual purpose. That or he's just a Neat Freak. He also smirks with only one side of his mouth, occasionally combining this with Fascinating Eyebrow.
  • Hyperdimension Neptunia: Histoire plays with this trope in the original game, as she likes to use emoticons when she speaks in her fairy form. To name a few in Mk-2, Nisa tends to strike a heroic pose now and then while speaking, Compa touches her finger to her cheek when thinking, and IF facepalms when distressed.
  • Grand Theft Auto III: Claude sways and nods almost absent-mindedly when listening to someone, as if in exchange for being able to talk.
  • Killer Is Dead: Mondo Zappa has a habit of slicking his hair back with his left (cybernetic) hand, usually before starting his missions. This is what cues the player in that the mysterious figure using Dark Matter to rebuild the mansion on the moon is a post Face–Heel Turn Mondo.
  • The King of Fighters: Ryuji Yamazaki often puts one of his hands (blame Ambidextrous Sprite) in his pocket, a tic he took from his late mentor-in-crime when he was younger, even during fights. He only attacks with his pocket-hand for his stronger attacks, such as pulling a knife from said pocket.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In the series, there would be at least one scene per-game where Sora would place his hands behind his head. It's quite common in Kingdom Hearts II, where he does this in almost every single world (where his form is unaltered).
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: Ventus is also prone to do this, which partly justifies this trope for Sora.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Mass Effect:
    • Tali'Zorah has a habit of wringing her hands when nervous. Also, quarians in general (if Veetor is any indication) seem to have a habit of bouncing on their toes when idle.
    • The Council as a whole have a habit where two of them look to the third; if that third person nods, they agree with Shepard's plan, with refusal following from the vastly more common head-shake. Shepard does the same thing with Anderson, and is also prone to doing a Reverse Arm-Fold when receiving orders.
    • Shepard rubs the back of his neck or scratch her head while looking away whenever they feel nervous or embarrassed. For example, when Niftu Cal claims he has a "biotic god" he states that he "began to smell his greatness". Shepard can only respond with this gesture.
  • Mega Man X: X has a distinctive gesture of crossing his arms in front of his face, then throwing them back. This is usually associated with him switching armors, but he often does this for dramatic effect, notably whenever he appears as a boss. In Mega Man X: Command Mission he gains a new tic, reacting to nearly every situation by planting his feet and pointing his Arm Cannon.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Revolver Ocelot has such a distinctive pistol-twirling motion that Hideo Kojima once didn't bother to refer to him by name in an interview — he merely imitated the twirl.
  • Moshi Monsters:
    • Captain Squirk often bobs up and down and moves his arms as though he's dancing.
    • Baz Barnacle often scratches his neck and spits out sand.
    • Crazy Bill often sidesteps and swivels his eye.
    • Zack Binspin plays with his hair.
  • Pokémon:
  • Portal 2: Wheatley. The most obvious is his eye sparking after GLaDOS crushed him, but he also waves his handles around a lot while talking, like a human would with their hands. Oh, and the side-to-side blink whenever he's self conscious, the loopy spin thing he whenever he's happy, relieved, or telling you to turn around, the flaring-out thing when he's in GLaDOS's body he'll do when he's angry...
  • Resident Evil: Wesker often slicks back his hair with his hands. He also has two different ways of adjusting his sunglasses: sometimes he will push them up by the bridge with two fingers, but other times he has a more unique way of adjusting them where he holds them by one lens with two fingers (one finger on either side of the lens, and sometimes with his thumb on the bottom). The second way is especially noticeable in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, as seen here
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona:
    • The protagonist of Persona 3 really likes putting his hands in his pockets - it fits the Ineffectual Loner/Emo Teen vibe his design gives off. He's seen walking like this more often than not in cutscenes, he'll walk around like this in gameplay if left idle for a few seconds, his portrait in the pause menu shows him doing it, and in the post-battle Victory Poses, he's almost always seen slipping one hand into his pocket after flourishing his weapon. The full version of the game's theme song, "Burn My Dread" (which seems to be told from his perspective), even points this out:
      "Voiceless town, tapping feet,
      I clench my fist, in pockets tight."
    • Artwork for Persona 4 frequently shows the protagonist pushing his glasses up from the bridge of his nose, but in the game proper, he only does it as a victory pose. The anime adaptation gave him a new one - see that folder for details.
    • Persona 5: Like the Persona 3 protagonist, the P5 hero almost constantly has his hands in his pockets when standing around and walking outside of dungeons (though unlike the P3 protagonist, he takes them out whenever he starts running). He'll also regularly push up his glasses or play with a lock of his hair during his Idle Animation or in cutscenes. While in dungeons in his Phantom Thief garb, he also habitually tightens his gloves to the point it's part of his Victory Pose, idle animation, and running animation.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic has a couple of tics: his smirk with accompanying finger-wag, and placing his hands at his sides while impatiently tapping his foot, both of which established his "Dude with the 'Tude" persona.
  • Super Sized Family: Virginia always holds her hands to her sides when she's standing up, unless she's sick.
  • Survivor: Fire: The little girl (the protagonist's sister) walks with a skip.
  • Tales of Graces: Asbel tends to do a quick Hand Behind Head where he quickly ruffles his hair, Sophie tends to cock her head to the side, Cheria angrily leans forward when scolding someone and has a habit of placing her hands placed in front of her when walking. Pascal does this... rather weird gesture where she raises her hand looking like she's falling sideways before she catches herself and stands like normal and tends to answer with "Y'okay".
  • Tales of Symphonia: Lloyd often stands with a hand resting on the pommel of his sword when relaxed.
    • Raine will often cross her arms when she's about to deliver a lecture - especially if it's about history or ruins.
    • Sheena puts a hand on her hip when speaking a lot and she's also fond of Giving Someone the Pointer Finger.
  • Tyranny: The Fatebinder can make [Glare silently.] their tic; the more often they do it, the more often others will comment. Tunon in particular finds trying to silently out-glare his White Mask of Doom an infuriating insult.
  • The Urinal Game: The guy in the green shirt always has one hand on his hip and the old guy somehow pees with both hands on his hips.
  • Due to limited animations, certain side characters in Yakuza 0 have very distinctive poses that they strike frequently, such as the Mr. Shakedowns leaning in and bobbing their head in a "What did you just say to me!?" fashion, or the Mr. Libido pelvic thrusting dance. Awano also has a very distinctive facial tic in cutscenes where the left side of his mouth turns up into a condescending sneer.

    Visual Novels 
  • Katawa Shoujo:
    • Misha often translates what she says into sign language. This would normally not be out of the ordinary, as she usually does it for the benefit of her deaf-mute best friend, but she often does it even when the only one nearby who understands it is Misha herself.
    • Hanako often covers the scarred side of her face during conversations.
  • New Danganronpa V3 has several:
    • Shuichi touches his finger to his chin when thinking.
    • Miu twiddles with her hair when flustered or nervous. She's also fond of Giving Someone the Pointer Finger.
    • Himiko pulls the brim of her hat over her eyes when she's uncomfortable.
    • Maki bites her thumb when thinking. She also plays with her twin-tails when embarrassed.
    • Kaito likes to give a thumbs-up when he agrees with someone (usually Shuichi) or punching both fists together when feeling pumped up.
    • Kokichi holds his index finger to his lips when he's toying with someone.
    • Tenko often gestures with her hands held flat and fingers straight together, since she's a martial artist.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: All characters have their own poses and gestures, and Phoenix's dramatic finger point is among the most distinctive. The new prosecutor from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Klavier Gavin, even air guitars when things are going particularly well for him.
    • This is actually a key gameplay mechanic in Apollo Justice; if you have no evidence to refute a testimony that is obviously false, chances are the witness is playing with her ring, or he's sweating profusely, or something similar; Apollo can "Perceive" these and call out these nervous twitches by way of an incredible talent to read people.
    • Phoenix's most famous tic is his Giving Someone the Pointer Finger pose, but one of other poses is also very noticeable: his nervous one, where he's hunched over, eyes are half closed, teeth gritted and sweat going down the side of his face like a waterfall. He does it so much, it's even used more than his standard standing pose. The main reason this is notable is that in the sequel, Apollo Justice has his own versions of all of Phoenix' tics, including the nervous pose, but he doesn't do it nearly as much.
    • Athena also has her fair share of tics, but one actually stands out as the developers Showing Their Work: whenever she enters a Heroic BSoD, she covers her ears. This is actually a known habit of patients with hyperacousis, AKA overly sensitive hearing, which they do to block out overbearing sounds. Her other tics include her playing with her earring when she's thinking, and rubbing her ponytail whenever she's embarrassed.
    • Klavier Gavin, as mentioned above, air guitars. But much more present is his finger snapping. He nearly constantly does this, as if listening to an invisible beat.
    • Manfred Von Karma from the first game folds his arms a lot, eyes closed and squeezing his sleeves while doing so. The first thing we see of his daughter Franziska in the sequel is the same exact pose, causing the first impression to be that of uncanny resemblance from her father. Phoenix also notices something else
      "Of all the things to inherit from her father, why did it have to be that smarmy smile?"
      • Also used to great effect in the third game. In the first, Manfred Von Karma had another particular trait of sticking his arm out and wagging his finger obnoxiously. The third game has a case that takes place in the past, with Phoenix' mentor Mia being the Defense. The opposition is a younger Edgeworth, who has all his familiar poses and tics, and... his mentor's obnoxious finger wag, showing the great influence he had on him.
    • Von Karma also has one more significant tic: putting his hand on his shoulder when nervous. It seems like just another nervous pose until you learn that he got shot in the shoulder from a gun that accidentally fired. He used the same gun to kill Edgeworth's father, but just so the evidence that he's the killer isn't found, he didn't remove it surgically and it remained lodged in his shoulder for fifteen years.
      • When von Karma appears as the rival for the flashback segment of case 3 of Gyakuten Kenji 2, all of his animations are the same as game 1, with the exception of one: his nervous sprite. It's the same as his original game 1 sprite, but he doesn't clutch his shoulder. The case is before the DL-6 Incident, when he got shot in the shoulder.
      • Franziska has a very similar nervous sprite. Though it's not as obvious at first glance since she grabs both shoulders.
  • When taking or making phone calls, Seiji from Spirit Hunter: NG has a noted habit of stepping away from others, since said calls are usually of a morally dubious nature that he doesn't want to be overheard.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: The titular character has a tendency to twitch his head back and forth whenever he's speaking.
  • No Evil: If Kitty/Kajortoq is angry or frustrated, one of her ears will twitch.

    Web Comics 
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Grace has a habit of holding her hands in front of her, a bit like a squirrel. Grace's squirrel hands make her recognisable even when she's transformed into a duplicate of someone else.
    • Also, several characters will touch their index fingers together when nervous or embarrassed.
  • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name: Lamont giggles nervously when he's nervous.
  • Murphy's Law: Radic has a habit of holding her chin when in thought.
  • Outsider: Tempo tends to place her right hand palm-first over her chest when talking, and to stand with her arms crossed and her left foot placed in front of and angled with respect to her right.
  • Questionable Content: Most characters will raise an index to their faces when thinking aloud.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Bunbun has a habit of cleaning himself during conversations, particularly ones he's apathetic to.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Emil has a habit of ruffling his hair whenever he's insecure about his situation.
  • Sunstone:
    • Lisa from this BDSM webcomic has a habit of biting her lip when she's turned on (or if she badly needs to pee). Ally, her friend and mistress, loves it.
    • Occasionally we see Ally rubbing her wrists when she's anxious, there's a reason for this.
  • Tower of God: Novik chewing his thumbnails.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers has a couple:
    • Bob tends to talk to inanimate objects, especially if drunk or tired.
    • Linda's eye twitches when she's boiling over with anger, a trait passed on to her daughter Louise.
    • Tina has a distinctive run in that she never moves her arms.
  • In Charlie and Lola, Lola walks hunched over when she's sad.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • Whenever Eddy is annoyed, disgusted, or just plain bored, his eyebrows would be shown connected.
    • The trio also has distinct ways of running, Double D knitting his arms and back straight, Eddy doubled over with his arms extended (and more often than not, his big discolored tongue sticking out), and Ed sort of loses control of his upper body, causing it to hang backwards as he runs, his arms extended.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • Mr. Crocker goes into violent spasms whenever he says "FAIRY GODPARENTS!!!" He'll also sometimes spazz whenever he says other things as well. For example, in the episode Mr. Right, he has a spasm while saying "HAVE A NICE DAY!"
    • Poof either waves his arms or bounces when he's super happy or excited.
  • Family Guy: Glenn Quagmire usually bobs his head when he's aroused by something.
  • Gravity Falls:
  • Hey Arnold!: Arnold's cousin Arnie after he's done talking, will snort and then blink one eye at a time.
  • In Horrid Henry, Henry's cousin Vera throws up a lot, so much that he calls her "Vomiting Vera".
  • Kaeloo:
    • Whenever Stumpy gets annoyed or confused, his neck starts spasming while he yells random gibberish in a Tourette's-style tic.
    • A Running Gag in the show is that whenever Stumpy gets stressed out, he bites something (or someone) near him.
    • On some occasions where someone else around him does something even dumber or weirder than usual, Mr. Cat's eye usually twitches while he stares slight open-mouthed.
  • Kim Possible has a few: Kim's "puppy-dog pout", Rufus's "groggy blink", and a couple others.
  • King of the Hill: Hank Hill rubs the back of his neck when he's nervous or embarrassed. His older Japanese half-brother Junichiro shares this tic.
  • Little Princess:
    • Princess circles her feet when she lies. She also skips when she's happy.
    • The Chef sings and hums while busy.
  • The Loud House:
  • Milo Murphy's Law: Melissa, Dr. Zone, and Agent Cavendish are prone to raising one eyebrow.
  • Moral Orel: For Moral, one word sums it up: Gulp
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The Adorkable, obsessive-compulsive Twilight Sparkle has a few, slightly bigger ones when she's panicking. She'll pace around, and sometimes Teleport Spam around the room (usually at least once she'll appear right in the face of whoever she's talking to/at).
    • Rainbow Dash's tic is being in the air at all times. She's rarely seen with all fours on the ground.
    • Pinkie Pie bounces around when she walks (it's called "pronking" or "stotting" when actual animals such as horses do it).
    • Apple Bloom's cousin Babs frequently blows her bangs out of her eyes. Initially, because she had been bullied for her lack of a cutie mark, she would nervously cover her blank flank with her tail at the mere mention of marks.
    • Ms. Peachbottom, from "Games Ponies Play", is extremely claustrophobic, and whenever her phobia kicks in starts stretching and "limbering up" in an attempt to distract herself.
    • Doctor Hooves, as revealed in "Slice of Life", will violently shake his head back and forth for a second or so whenever he needs to focus.
    • Starlight Glimmer's frequent bouts of nervous, forced laughter have become noticeable. She also tends to emit a sarcastic "yay" when she's not overly enthusiastic about something.
  • Peg + Cat: When Peg is very excited or scared, she waves her arms and legs about.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Blink and you'll miss it, but Candace blinks erratically when excited (to the point of being seen as a psycho) when she believes the boys are about to get busted.
  • From Recess, Gretchen has a habit of adjusting her glasses during a few scenes.
  • Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends: General Rinaker has a set of keys that he constantly twirls.
  • ALL of the characters in any of Seth MacFarlane's shows, including celebrities, often raise their hand(s) at chest level. Possibly homage to the same tic that is used in several Hanna-Barbera shows that Seth grew up watching.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Mr. Burns has one of the most obvious ones: his tendency to hold his hands in front of him like a praying mantis with his fingers steepled (often as he says his catchphrase, "Eexxxxcellent...").
    • Homer waves his fingers back and forth when he's excited or worried.
    • Lisa stands with her hands on her hips and her legs apart a lot.
    • Ned Flanders often holds one hand behind his back. He also tends to do this gesture similar to punching the air, but sideways.
    • Marge has a specific frustrated growl.
  • South Park:
    • Stan pinches his nose (or, rather, where his nose should be) when he's irritated.
    • Cartman tends to point with both hands, especially when leaving.
    • Kenny would often tug on the strings of his hood when he's scared.
    • Butters tends to wring his hands or rub his knuckles together when worried.
    • Timmy contemplates his hands.
    • The red-haired goth kid Pete is often seen jerking his head sideways to flip his bangs out of his face.
    • Tweek has a whole host of them- constant twitching, tugging at his shirt, biting his lip, pulling his hair out, and screaming in the middle of his own sentences.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Star Butterfly's tic is to put her own Magic Wand to her mouth, as if about to chew on it. Though she does it less often in season 2, and no longer by season 3.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Pearl tends to be very expressive with her hands, especially when she's excited.
      • Whenever Steven is confronted with shocking information about Homeworld or the Diamonds, Pearl covers her mouth as if she wants to tell him something, but is trying to prevent herself. This is because she was obeying Rose Quartz's final order as Pink Diamond to never speak about her faking her death.
    • Ruby throws her hands in the air and holds her head when she's angry or frustrated.
    • Amethyst sometimes picks her nose when she's bored.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Robin's habit of punching his palm whenever he gets angry happens so often that if he took his glove off, viewers might see permanent knuckle prints there. Amusingly, this trait of his is carried over from the original Batman (1966) series.
    • Raven tends to pull up her hood when she's nervous or uncomfortable.
  • The Transformers: One of the many tricks used to help characters stand out is to give them unique talking styles or quirks. For example:
    • The Insecticon Shrapnel repeats the last word of a sentence, sentence.
    • The Autobot Warpath has a Tourette's Syndrome-like tendency to intersperce what he's saying with onomatopaeia like "Kablam!", "Zowee!" or "Pow!"
    • Powerglide usually yells, "And awaaaaaaay we go!" as he takes to the sky.
    • The Constructicon Mixmaster originally didn't have a tic in their introductory episode, but when they next appear he sometimes repeats parts of words. "Right, right, right, Meg-Meg-Megatron!"
  • What's with Andy?: When Jen is angry (which is a lot), she makes her hands into fists, tenses up her shoulders, and does a high-pitched growl.

Alternative Title(s): Character Tic

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