\ ˈfrau̇n \
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

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Other Words from frown


frowner noun
frowningly \ ˈfrau̇-​niŋ-​lē \ adverb


frowny \ ˈfrau̇-​nē \ 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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 State media have speculated that the links to gangs and tattoos -- frowned upon in Chinese culture -- may be why Douyin pulled the cartoons. Michael Norman,, "With the release of Oculus Go, several virtual reality films show the way forward," 2 May 2018 State media have speculated that the links to gangs and tattoos — frowned upon in Chinese culture — may be why Douyin pulled the cartoons. Fortune, "Peppa Pig Is Reportedly the Latest Target of China's Internet Censorship Efforts," 1 May 2018 The Internal Revenue Service frowns on estate-planning moves that appear to be purely tax driven. Karen Hube Of Barron’s, WSJ, "How to Leave Assets — With an Immediate Tax Write-Off —," 14 Dec. 2018 Around the time of the French Revolution, corsets fell out of favor as aristocratic styles became frowned upon and ideas of liberation extended to women’s clothing. Ray A. Smith, WSJ, "‘Worst Decision Ever’: A New Fashion Trend Leaves Women Literally Breathless," 16 Aug. 2018 Gambling talk was mostly verboten by traditional media and frowned upon by the leagues, but companies are suddenly angling for space. Rick Maese,, "A safe bet: Legal gambling could change the way we watch, talk and experience sports," 5 July 2018 None of those habits are particularly frowned upon in Somalia. Fox News, "Somali immigrants find growing acceptance in Minnesota," 25 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 David Beckham entered the room not to outright booing Thursday evening, as some had predicted, but to a sort of collective grunting murmur and frowns. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "David Beckham confronts his biggest fight yet to (finally) bring MLS soccer to Miami," 12 July 2018 If a woman gets 10 units of Botox, a man will get two units just to get rid of the central frown line. Ingrid Schmidt, The Hollywood Reporter, "Derm-to-the-Stars Harold Lancer Says Big Butts Are Out, Lifted Nose Tips Are In," 27 June 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.

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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

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Learn More about frown

Dictionary Entries near frown


Froward, Cape



frown on/upon



Statistics for frown

Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for frown

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

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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 \
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

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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).


to gather or build up little by little

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