\ ˈskau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce scowl (audio) \
scowled; scowling; scowls

Definition of scowl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to contract the brow in an expression of displeasure
2 : to exhibit a threatening aspect

transitive verb

: to express with a scowl



Definition of scowl (Entry 2 of 2)

: a facial expression of displeasure : frown

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Other Words from scowl


scowler noun
scowlingly \ ˈskau̇-​liŋ-​lē How to pronounce scowlingly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for scowl

Synonyms: Verb

frown, glare, gloom, glower, lower (also lour)

Synonyms: Noun

face, frown, grimace, lower (also lour), moue, mouth, mow, mug, pout, snoot

Antonyms: Verb

beam, grin, smile

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Examples of scowl in a Sentence


scowled down at the misbehaving child


The teacher gave me a scowl when I walked in late. She responded to his question with a scowl.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

On a recent visit to his land, Appleton scowled at two orange-vested workers hacking at the vegetation with power tools. Los Angeles Times, "This activist bought 4.5 acres of the L.A. River just to have a stake in its revitalization," 5 Aug. 2019 The girl scowled and kicked a pebble down the sidewalk. Stephanie Green,, "2019 Algren Awards: Finalist: Host Mother," 20 July 2019 Granted, the skipper has flashed a couple of postgame scowls here and there. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Newman: Credit Bud Black’s steely demeanor for keeping Rockies on track amid roller-coaster first half," 3 July 2019 Moriah said again, because now the woman at the next table had set down her newspaper and was openly staring and scowling in their direction. Danielle Tcholakian, Longreads, "The ‘Treasonous’ Teens Living in One Nation Under Guns," 30 May 2018 Moriah said again, because now the woman at the next table had set down her newspaper and was openly staring and scowling in their direction. Danielle Tcholakian, Longreads, "The ‘Treasonous’ Teens Living in One Nation Under Guns," 30 May 2018 All of the newest MacBook Pros exclusively feature Thunderbolt 3 ports, which some will appreciate but all will scowl at when they're forced to buy multiple dongles to connect legacy accessories. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Apple to stop selling 2015 MacBook Pro with old-style keyboard, legacy ports," 12 July 2018 Ball was scowling at the screen when the phone on his table buzzed. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 2018 An omnipotent Apollo scowls over the mantel; a hungover Bacchus sleeps off a bender in a bedroom downstairs. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "The Tragic, Fascinating History of Santo Sospir," 13 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Russia’s smile has been replaced by its more familiar scowl. The Economist, "Russia plays games with Georgia," 6 July 2019 At times, this place resembles one of those movies in which Schwarzenegger emerges out of walls of smoke, carrying a carbine and a scowl. Chris Erskine, San Diego Union-Tribune, "A speedway, a spectacle, a sensational Saturday night," 20 June 2019 At the exact moment, Beyoncé’s grin turns into something more like a scowl. Amy Gunia, Time, "Here's What Nicole Curran Said to Jay-Z During That Viral Game 3 Moment," 7 June 2019 There are lots of scowls in these photos, but the best images are of musicians goofing off and just being silly. David Kirby, WSJ, "What to Give: Books on Music," 15 Nov. 2018 My family spent many years vacationing in national parks every summer, with my dad taking us on hikes that made 12-year-old me scowl. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Garmin Fenix 5S Plus review: So capable, so enviable, so expensive," 29 July 2018 On the show, though, June is so special that her scowl might as well be on the currency for the revolution. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Is Brutal and Not Much Else," 11 July 2018 Four years after the Summer of Love, Clint Eastwood arrived in San Francisco with a scowl, a .44 Magnum and some ghastly interrogation techniques. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "What’s on TV Wednesday: Fireworks and ‘Captain America’," 4 July 2018 Buy Photo As the heat index peaked at 106 Tuesday, the hottest day so far this year, strangers at unshaded crosswalks exchanged anguished scowls. Julia Terruso,, "While you're chillin' out on the 4th, these workers will be sizzling," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scowl.' 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 scowl


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


circa 1520, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scowl


Middle English skoulen, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish skule to scowl

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Statistics for scowl

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scowl

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

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More Definitions for scowl



English Language Learners Definition of scowl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to look at someone or something in a way that shows anger or disapproval



English Language Learners Definition of scowl (Entry 2 of 2)

: an expression on someone's face that shows anger or disapproval


\ ˈskau̇l How to pronounce scowl (audio) \
scowled; scowling

Kids Definition of scowl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make a look that shows anger
2 : to say with an angry look



Kids Definition of scowl (Entry 2 of 2)

: an angry look

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More from Merriam-Webster on scowl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scowl

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scowl

Spanish Central: Translation of scowl

Nglish: Translation of scowl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scowl for Arabic Speakers

Comments on scowl

What made you want to look up scowl? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to shake or wave menacingly

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