\ ˈfrau̇n How to pronounce frown (audio) \
frowned; frowning; frowns

Definition of frown

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to contract the brow in displeasure or concentration frowned in anger
2 : to give evidence of displeasure or disapproval by or as if by facial expression critics frown on the idea

transitive verb

: to show displeasure with or disapproval of especially by facial expression I will be neither frowned nor ridiculed into error— Noah Webster



Definition of frown (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an expression of displeasure
2 : a wrinkling of the brow in displeasure or concentration

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from frown


frowner noun
frowningly \ ˈfrau̇-​niŋ-​lē How to pronounce frowningly (audio) \ adverb


frowny \ ˈfrau̇-​nē How to pronounce frowny (audio) \ adjective, informal
a frowny face

Synonyms & Antonyms for frown

Synonyms: Verb

glare, gloom, glower, lower (also lour), scowl

Synonyms: Noun

face, grimace, lower (also lour), moue, mouth, mow, mug, pout, scowl, snoot

Antonyms: Verb

beam, grin, smile

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of frown in a Sentence


She was frowning when she entered the room, so I knew that she was annoyed about something. the boss just stood there and frowned at his assistant who, once again, was in trouble


it was clear from the frown on the CEO's face that sales were headed in the wrong direction
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Even if Perry never has to argue in front of O’Neill, appellate judges might frown on any judicial complaint that is not substantive, Filler said. Graham Bowley, The Seattle Times, "Bill Cosby, appealing conviction, hires 12th firm and 20th lawyer," 22 Oct. 2018 On a scale of 1 to 10, Kell rated her discomfort a 9, which on the pain chart is one spot away from the frowning face with a teardrop on its cheek. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Native Youth Olympics brings the pain while honoring a culture," 27 Apr. 2018 Leis, who appears standing in the middle of her farming plot, her frowning face looking away from the camera and blond hair held by a diadem, has many fans now. Aritz Parra,, "For female Trump lookalike, crops mean more than social media fame," 25 Apr. 2018 This stockpiling move is relatively common among galleries, and it isn’t frowned upon so long as the artist is aware of the arrangement. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "Art World’s Newest Star Makes $3 Million Paintings. Is the Crash Next?," 21 Sep. 2018 Dancing on the piano itself was frowned upon, though known to happen. Bridget Read, Vogue, "She Would Have Loved This," 26 Oct. 2018 This cultural shift has become so ingrained in society that it is now frowned upon for new fathers not to take extended periods of time off. NBC News, "An American dad in Sweden now has plenty of family time," 4 Apr. 2018 The queen typically frowns on extravagant gifts, and many of the presents are novelty items. Frank Augstein, The Seattle Times, "Queen Elizabeth II riffs on wisdom, family’s busy year," 26 Dec. 2018 From the start, critics had warned about using a standardized test designed for one purpose to evaluate something else — a practice frowned upon in the assessment world. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Improving Teaching Effectiveness: Final Report," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There are over 1,000 distinct kinds of frowns on display, from rakish to tragic, ironic to crushed. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "Review: ‘A Very English Scandal’ Is Very Good. And Scandalous.," 28 June 2018 With these unnecessary comments, Alex Miescher has caused a lot of frowns, and also much disappointment., "Granit Xhaka Hits Out at Swiss FA Following Controversial Comments on Dual Nationality," 8 July 2018 Botox paralyzes facial muscles, such as those that cause frown lines, in order to soften wrinkles. Allure, "The Skin-Care Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know," 17 Aug. 2018 Many investors rely on the transparency of regular disclosure and crave more—even if some investors with a longer view frown at the short-term focus. Jennifer Maloney, WSJ, "Trump Asks SEC to Study Six-Month Reporting for Public Companies," 17 Aug. 2018 Everyone starts with one unique special ability, a small handful of basic resources, and a great big frown at the mental activity required just to get started. Tom Mendelsohn, Ars Technica, "Altiplano review: A brain-tickling board game about… alpacas," 14 July 2018 The rich frown differently than the poor do, just one among many subtle differences that create the parallel narrative of class conflict that runs alongside the story of gay liberation. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "Review: ‘A Very English Scandal’ Is Very Good. And Scandalous.," 28 June 2018 The frowns on the faces of the people wore you down. Bob Blaisdell, The Christian Science Monitor, "'A Terrible Country' follows an ex-pat who returns to experience life in Russia," 11 July 2018 When none of her friends could come to Larriah Binns’s birthday party on Saturday, a Maine police department stepped in to turn her frown upside down. Katie Camero,, "Augusta police throw 8-year-old a surprise birthday party," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'frown.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of frown


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for frown

Verb and Noun

Middle English frounen, from Middle French frogner to snort, frown, of Celt origin; akin to Welsh ffroen nostril, Old Irish srón nose

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about frown

Dictionary Entries near frown


Froward, Cape



frown on/upon



Statistics for frown

Last Updated

6 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for frown

The first known use of frown was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for frown



English Language Learners Definition of frown

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make a frown in anger, concentration, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of frown (Entry 2 of 2)

: a serious facial expression that usually shows anger, displeasure, or concentration


\ ˈfrau̇n How to pronounce frown (audio) \
frowned; frowning

Kids Definition of frown

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to have a serious facial expression (as in anger or thought)
2 : to look with disapproval … Jo frowned upon the whole project and would have nothing to do with it …— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women



Kids Definition of frown (Entry 2 of 2)

: a serious facial expression that shows anger, unhappiness, or deep thought

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on frown

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with frown

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frown

Spanish Central: Translation of frown

Nglish: Translation of frown for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of frown for Arabic Speakers

Comments on frown

What made you want to look up frown? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!