\ ˈmü How to pronounce moue (audio) \

Definition of moue

: a little grimace : pout made a moue of disappointment

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Synonyms for moue


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Moue is one of two similar-sounding words in English that refer to a pout or grimace; the other is "mow," which is pronounced to rhyme either with "no" or "now." "Mow" and "mou" share the same origin (the Anglo-French mouwe) and a distant relationship to a Middle Dutch word for a protruding lip. (They do not, however, share a relationship to the word mouth, which derives from Old English "mŪth.") While use of "moue" in English only traces back a little more than 150 years, "mow" dates all the way back to the 14th century. "Moue" has also seen occasional use as a verb, as when Nicholson Baker, in the August 15, 1988 New Yorker, described how a woman applying lip gloss would "slide the lip from side to side under it and press her mouth together and then moue it outward…"

Examples of moue in a Sentence

a moue of distaste at the display of bad manners
Recent Examples on the Web Not just any moue, either, but a supermoue—a whole cultural attitude distilled into a single boffff. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 13 Mar. 2020 Pennywise, who sometimes takes the form of a giant spider-like monster, and whose pouty moue can suddenly sprout rows of sharp, brownish fangs, both feeds and feeds upon ordinary human viciousness. New York Times, 3 Sep. 2019

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

First Known Use of moue

1849, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for moue

French, from Middle French — more at mow

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Cite this Entry

“Moue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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