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[froun] /fraʊn/
verb (used without object)
to contract the brow, as in displeasure or deep thought; scowl.
to look displeased; have an angry look.
to view with disapproval; look disapprovingly (usually followed by on or upon):
to frown upon a scheme.
verb (used with object)
to express by a frown:
to frown one's displeasure.
to force or shame with a disapproving frown:
to frown someone into silence.
a frowning look; scowl.
any expression or show of disapproval:
a tax bill that received Congressional frowns.
Origin of frown
1350-1400; Middle English frounen < Old French froignier, derivative of froigne surly expression, probably < Gaulish *frognā; compare Welsh ffroen, Old Breton fron nostril, Old Irish srón nose < Celtic *srognā or *sroknā
Related forms
frowner, noun
frowningly, adverb
half-frowning, adjective
half-frowningly, adverb
unfrowning, adjective
1. glower, lower, gloom. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for frown
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It made Andy frown, and for an instant he thought of calling Buck back.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • And yet in the end Pop was able to muster a fairly good imitation of a frown.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • With this new evidence of his generous virtue, the frown passed from his brows.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • I saw him frown, and suddenly he slapped his thigh as a man does when thought overtakes him.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • He gave no direct reply, but certainly did not frown on the request.

  • He looked at me curiously for an instant--then with a frown.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • Am I so utterly disreputable that you find it necessary to frown on me so darkly?

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
British Dictionary definitions for frown


(intransitive) to draw the brows together and wrinkle the forehead, esp in worry, anger, or concentration
(intransitive; foll by on or upon) to have a dislike (of); look disapprovingly (upon): the club frowned upon political activity by its members
(transitive) to express (worry, etc) by frowning
(transitive) often foll by down. to force, silence, etc, by a frowning look
the act of frowning
a show of dislike or displeasure
Derived Forms
frowner, noun
frowningly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French froigner, of Celtic origin; compare Welsh ffroen nostril, Middle Breton froan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for frown

late 14c., from Old French frognier "to frown or scowl, snort, turn one's nose up," related to froigne "scowling look," probably from Gaulish *frogna "nostril" (cf. Welsh ffroen "nose"), with a sense of "snort," or perhaps "haughty grimace." Related: Frowned; frowning.


1580s, from frown (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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