In sign languages, handshape, or dez, refers to the distinctive configurations that the hands take as they are used to form words. In Stokoe terminology it is known as the, an abbreviation of designator. Handshape is one of five components of a sign, along with location, orientation, movement, and facial-body expression. Different sign languages make use of different handshapes.

In American Sign Language

uses 18 handshapes for ordinary signs, plus a few marginal handshapes taken from the American Manual Alphabet for fingerspelling.
Not all handshapes occur with every orientation, movement, or location: there are restrictions. For example, the 5 and F handshapes only make contact with another part of the body through the tip of the thumb, whereas the K and 8 handshapes only make contact through the tip of the middle finger, and the X handshape only with the flexed joint of the index finger.