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
Amazon's closure of AmazonSmile adds to a growing list of reasons for people to frown recently. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 19 Jan. 2023 But turn that frown upside down, because 2022 was a record year for Bentley, Lamborghini, and Rolls-Royce! Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 10 Jan. 2023 But in my experience, public riding areas generally frown on children driving actual cars. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 17 Dec. 2022 Most coffee shops and cafes also frown upon remote workers, which is manifested in a lack of plugs and inaccessible WiFi connections. Shradha Shahani, Condé Nast Traveler, 12 Dec. 2022 That said, the law tends to frown on perpetuities as well as on legislative acts that bind future legislatures, except through constitutions. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct. 2022 Plain-language advocates frown on long sentences, passive verbs and unexplained acronyms, and say writing basics such as word choice and document structure can make all the difference. Mike Cherney, WSJ, 18 Sep. 2022 Sam Bankman-Fried sold $300 million in shares prior to FTX's collapse despite venture industry norms that frown on founders cashing out before investors. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, 21 Nov. 2022 Boating experts also frown on wearing camouflage-style life jackets, which are popular with waterfowl hunters. D'arcy Egan, cleveland, 22 Sep. 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 At that point, there wasn’t anything that could make the Bengals rookie cornerback frown. Andrew Gillis, cleveland, 23 Oct. 2022 But usually, the only outward sign is a frown on my face, and maybe my grumpy mood. Ben Mattlin, CNN, 16 Oct. 2022 Goldberg consulted her notes with a frown as Sara Haines laughed into her hands. Amanda Taylor, Peoplemag, 8 Sep. 2022 Walker is one of those teammates who’s watched Brissett be the person same every day, in good times and bad, except for that initial frown. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, 7 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 2 Feb. 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

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