A frowning man in Albrecht Dürer's painting Bildnis eines unbekannten Mannes (1521)


  • IPA(key): /fɹaʊn/
  • (file)
    Rhymes: -aʊn

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English frown, froun (a threatening appearance; lowering of the clouds), from frounen (to frown). See below.


frown (plural frowns)

  1. A facial expression in which the eyebrows are brought together, and the forehead is wrinkled, usually indicating displeasure, sadness or worry, or less often confusion or concentration.
    • 1873, Charles Darwin, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals[1], page 223:
      He encounters some obstacle in his train of reasoning ... and then a frown passes like a shadow over his brow.
  2. A facial expression in which the corners of the mouth are pointed down.
    • 1911 December 1, “Facial Expression Electric Sign”, in Popular Electricity[2], volume iv, number 8, Chicago, page 714:
      The smile and the frown are both indicated and the operation of a motor driven flasher causes the face to look happy and sad in turn.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English frounen (to frown as an expression of disapproval, displeasure, shame, fear, or jealousy), from Old French frognier (to frown or scowl), from Gaulish *frognā (nostril), from Proto-Celtic *srognā.


frown (third-person singular simple present frowns, present participle frowning, simple past and past participle frowned)

  1. (intransitive) To have a frown on one's face.
    She frowned when I told her the news.
  2. (intransitive, figuratively) To manifest displeasure or disapprobation; to look with disfavour or threateningly.
    Noisy gossip in the library is frowned upon.
  3. (transitive) To repress or repel by expressing displeasure or disapproval; to rebuke with a look.
    Let us frown the impudent fellow into silence.
  4. (transitive) To communicate by frowning.
    Frank frowned his displeasure with my proposal.
    • 2017 June 26, Alexis Petridis, “Glastonbury 2017 verdict: Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Lorde, Stormzy and more”, in the Guardian[3]:
      As the band paused between songs, a gust of wind blew a distinctive Worthy Farm odour in the direction of drummer/vocalist Julien Ehrich: “Wow,” he frowned, “this place smells of cow shit.”
Derived termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.




  1. Soft mutation of brown.


Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
brown frown mrown unchanged
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.