Frown and frowny

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat Oct 29 08:26:36 UTC 2011

Dictionaries define the frown as an expression evoked with the brow; yet, as noted in Wikipedia (, in North America, we consider it to be (primarily) an expression of the mouth. When I want to make a frown, such as when making a face to a child, I turn the ends of my lips downward.

Also, the colon followed by the open parenthesis is used throughout the English-speaking world (AFAIK, anyway) symbolizing a frown because of the downward facing mouth.

At least, I think it's fair to say that the dictionaries are misleading for North American speakers.

Also, it seems "smiley face" has been rhymed to create "frowny face" which gets 265K raw Googits.

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list