verb (used without object)

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 formsfrown·er, nounfrown·ing·ly, adverbhalf-frown·ing, adjectivehalf-frown·ing·ly, adverbun·frown·ing, adjective

Synonyms for frown Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for frown

Contemporary Examples of frown

Historical Examples of frown

  • It made Andy frown, and for an instant he thought of calling Buck back.

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

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for frown



(intr) to draw the brows together and wrinkle the forehead, esp in worry, anger, or concentration
(intr; foll by on or upon) to have a dislike (of); look disapprovingly (upon)the club frowned upon political activity by its members
(tr) to express (worry, etc) by frowning
(tr often foll by down) to force, silence, etc, by a frowning look


the act of frowning
a show of dislike or displeasure
Derived Formsfrowner, nounfrowningly, adverb

Word Origin for frown

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

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