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[skoul] /skaʊl/
verb (used without object)
to draw down or contract the brows in a sullen, displeased, or angry manner.
to have a gloomy or threatening look.
verb (used with object)
to affect or express with a scowl.
a scowling expression, look, or aspect.
Origin of scowl
1300-50; Middle English scoulen (v.); perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Danish skule to scowl, Norwegian skule to look furtively, though these may be < Low German schūlen to spy
Related forms
scowler, noun
scowlful, adjective
scowlingly, adverb
unscowling, adjective
unscowlingly, adverb
1. frown, lower, glare. 2. glower, gloom. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for scowled
Historical Examples
  • He scowled upon me with a natural hate, and refused to comply with my request.

  • He blinked and scowled in the sunshine, because his eyes were not used to the light.

  • They scowled at him as if they were mad enough to bite off the heads of tenpenny nails.

    Welsh Fairy Tales William Elliott Griffis
  • He scowled over it, then considered the other side of the face.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • Good Indian looked straight past the girl, and scowled at Pete.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • Good Indian scowled at him and rode on, because a woman rode beside him.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • He stopped before us and scowled at the soldier who saluted in hasty confusion.

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
  • I scowled in the effort to search my soul, my artist's soul.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • He stopped with a jerk, his hand went to his heart, and he panted and scowled with pain.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • He clutched his nightstick and scowled out from under the brim of his uniform cap.

    Arm of the Law Harry Harrison
British Dictionary definitions for scowled


(intransitive) to contract the brows in a threatening or angry manner
a gloomy or threatening expression
Word Origin
C14: probably from Scandinavian; compare Danish skule to look down, Old English scūlēgede squint-eyed
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 scowled



mid-14c., from a Scandinavian source (cf. Norwegian skule "look furtively, squint, look embarrassed," Danish skule "to scowl, cast down the eyes"). Probably related to Old English sceolh "wry, oblique," Old High German scelah "curved," German scheel "squint-eyed;" from PIE root *sqel- "crooked, curved, bent." Related: Scowled; scowling.



c.1500, from scowl (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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