A facepalm, is the physical gesture of placing one’s hand flat across one’s face or lowering one’s face into one’s hand or hands. The gesture is found in many cultures as a display of frustration, embarrassment, shock, or surprise.
The gesture is not of recent origin, and although common, is not culturally universal.Jim Horne used it in 1953.It has since been popularized as an Internet meme based on an image of the character Captain Jean-Luc Picard performing the gesture in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Déjà Q”.Images of stockbrokers facepalming have also been widely used in the media to convey the dismay associated with poor financial performance,and a wide variety of regrettable film, business, and political decisions have been described as facepalms or “facepalm moments“.
According to Oxford University Press lexicographer Susie Dent, this versatility is one of the reasons that the word has been linguistically “successful”.This gesture is not unique to humans.
A group of mandrills at the Colchester Zoo has adopted a similar gesture to signal the desire to avoid social interaction or to be left alone.