1 of 2


frowned; frowning; frowns

intransitive verb

: to contract the brow in displeasure or concentration
frowned in anger
: 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 errorNoah Webster
frowner noun
frowningly adverb


2 of 2


: an expression of displeasure
: a wrinkling of the brow in displeasure or concentration
frowny adjective informal
a frowny face

Example Sentences

Verb 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 Noun it was clear from the frown on the CEO's face that sales were headed in the wrong direction
Recent Examples on the Web
In the second bit, Ortega flips her Wednesday character’s frown upside down and gives the camera some double espresso high school pep squad energy, which again totally confuses Yang. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 10 Mar. 2023 For here is that frown, those beetle brows, that coarse wavy hair tied into a bun like challah bread, that pugnacious nose, that stare of implacability designed to bore a hole in its beholder. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 20 Feb. 2023 While the glaceirs of ignorance icily frown, This soveriegn rule warms, like a thick iederdown. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Sep. 2020 The city has set up a bilingual support center for survivors tailored to multiple cultures, but Wong worried that some immigrants, particularly older ones, frown upon seeking mental health care, which some view as taboo. Meena Venkataramanan, Washington Post, 25 Jan. 2023 In the NCAA Tournament, everyone can dance, even if the school might frown upon it. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 22 Mar. 2021 Forget the hand-waving complaining about broken modern societies: For the most part, humans adhere to social norms and frown on others who break them. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 27 Aug. 2012 Unsurprisingly, most Americans frown upon antisocial behavior. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, 31 Jan. 2023 Amazon's closure of AmazonSmile adds to a growing list of reasons for people to frown recently. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 19 Jan. 2023
There was not a frown in sight as onlookers lined Madison Avenue and Halstead to see the creative costumes and gave willing pups a well-deserved pat on the head. cleveland, 17 Oct. 2021 Research also shows that dogs and horses prefer a smile to a frown. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, 28 Aug. 2018 Their caption was accompanied by a yellow emoji face sporting a skewed frown. Emily Sweeney,, 10 Feb. 2023 Shauna might carry herself with an air of dreary dissatisfaction, her face defaulting to a purse-lipped frown when no one else is around. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 June 2022 Then my mother’s worry stops all play And, as if in its rightful place, My father’s frown divides my face. Margalit Fox, New York Times, 9 Jan. 2023 Whilst thus screaming their eyes are firmly closed, so that the skin round them is wrinkled and the forehead contracted into a frown. Kat Mcgowan, Discover Magazine, 29 Feb. 2012 Facial expressions also play a role in conveying emotion, which explains all the mascara and blush because judges need to distinguish a smile from a frown from 30 feet away. Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2022 They were surrounded by a dozen identical plaster busts, made by Vira, of a man with a weak chin, stern frown, and fanatically staring eyes. George Packer, The Atlantic, 6 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


Verb and Noun

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

First Known Use


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


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near frown

Cite this Entry

“Frown.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to wrinkle the forehead (as in anger or thought)
: to show displeasure or disapproval by or as if by facial expression
frowns on rudeness
frowner noun
frowningly adverb


2 of 2 noun
: an expression of displeasure
: a wrinkling of the brow in displeasure or thought

More from Merriam-Webster on frown

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

A Good Old-Fashioned Quiz

Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?