physiognomy

noun
phys·​i·​og·​no·​my | \ ˌfi-zē-ˈä(g)-nə-mē How to pronounce physiognomy (audio) \
plural physiognomies

Definition of physiognomy

1 : the art of discovering temperament and character from outward appearance
2 : the facial features held to show qualities of mind or character by their configuration or expression
3 : external aspect also : inner character or quality revealed outwardly

Examples of physiognomy in a Sentence

He and his son have the same distinctive physiognomy.
Recent Examples on the Web Based on the images that have been released, the new car’s physiognomy is very similar to that of the outgoing version, but there are some subtle differences. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 12 May 2022 And yet the brilliant meditations—on whether color exists in the world or in the eye, on physiognomy, on borders and borderlessness, and on suffering—seem in some instances comically obsolete and in others utterly germane. Claire Messud, Harper's Magazine, 17 Aug. 2021 Though diminutive, miniatures condense and unify a host of references to physiognomy, class, attire and setting. Colin T. Eisler, WSJ, 16 July 2021 In Mécanisme de la physionomie humaine, Duchenne laid important foundations for both Darwin and Ekman, connecting older ideas from physiognomy and phrenology with more modern investigations into physiology and psychology. Kate Crawford, The Atlantic, 27 Apr. 2021 Lavater took the approaches of physiognomy and blended them with the latest scientific knowledge. Kate Crawford, The Atlantic, 27 Apr. 2021 At one point, the conversation turned to physiognomy, the pseudoscientific judgment of a person’s character based on their facial features. New York Times, 18 Mar. 2021 Years of chronic asthma and a fragile physiognomy left him relatively limited in his physical activity. Oliver Munday, The Atlantic, 1 Nov. 2020 Her images are a critique of pseudo-scientific studies in 19th- and early 20th-centuries that categorized racial groups according to their physiognomy as a way to assert the superiority of whites. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, 14 July 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of physiognomy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for physiognomy

Middle English phisonomie, from Anglo-French phisenomie, from Late Latin physiognomonia, physiognomia, from Greek physiognōmonia, from physiognōmōn judging character by the features, from physis nature, physique, appearance + gnōmōn interpreter — more at gnomon

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

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Dictionary Entries Near physiognomy

physiognomonic

physiognomy

physiogony

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Physiognomy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/physiognomy. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for physiognomy

physiognomy

noun
phys·​i·​og·​no·​my | \ ˌfiz-ē-ˈä(g)-nə-mē How to pronounce physiognomy (audio) \
plural physiognomies

Medical Definition of physiognomy

1 : the art of discovering temperament and character from outward appearance
2 : the facial features held to show qualities of mind or character by their configuration or expression

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