: a little grimace : pout
made a moue of disappointment

Did you know?

Moue is one of two similar 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 moue share the same origin—the Anglo-French mouwe—and have 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 current evidence of moue in use in  English traces back only 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 a 1988 issue of The 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…."

Example Sentences

a moue of distaste at the display of bad manners
Recent Examples on the Web In her trademark cat-eye glasses, with her bitter-lemon moue, Hoffman, as Moth, is comedy just standing there; Harada, as Mustardseed, a warmth machine. New York Times, 24 Oct. 2021 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.

Word History


French, from Middle French — more at mow

First Known Use

1849, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of moue was in 1849


Dictionary Entries Near moue

Cite this Entry

“Moue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 2023.

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