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How do you frown?

I always thought it was a mouth gesture, but...

     
4:55 pm on May 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The expression "frown upon" just irks me a bit, but with what we do, we can't avoid it. ("Google frowns upon that")

I looked up "frown" in the dictionary, and what I saw surprised me. This is a quote: "furrow one's brow in an expression of disapproval, displeasure, or concentration."

I'd aways thought "frown" was an expression formed by the mouth, not the brow. If I wanted to talk about furrowed brows, I'd use the word 'furrow.' This definition of "frown" strikes me as odd as some definition of "smile" that portrays the crinkling of the corners of one's eyes as the primary facial expression of "smile".

I think you can frown without moving your forehead, but you cannot frown without moving your mouth. So what's the verdict -- is "frown" the opposite of "smile" (e.g. a mouth movement) or do frowns belong to the forehead?

5:17 pm on May 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Frown with the mouth? Hmm. Could you demonstrate how that's done? :)
5:25 pm on May 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Frown definately means "furrow one's brow in an expression of disapproval, displeasure, or concentration." The word furrow would describe the same physical movement, but without the same connotations as to why it was being done - talking of someone with a "furrowed brow" would imply worry to me.
5:26 pm on May 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>8-[

lol

5:33 pm on May 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Frown with the mouth? Hmm. Could you demonstrate how that's done? :)

:-<

:-(

:-[

:-\

7:21 pm on May 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Ah, you exist only in the virtual dimension? ;)

Seriously, though, it's only the online representation of a frown that ever involves using the mouth to convey anything. Somebody who has never been online would have trouble imagining what part the mouth could possibly play in a frown (as it's always been a brow thing).

8:11 pm on May 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is region a factor with 'frown'. I am significantly older than the internet, and have always thought a frown was made with the mouth. Until now, I have never heard of a frown with the brow. (The opposite of a smile is a frown; isn't it?)

Sure enough, answers.com, and thefreedictionary.com make no reference to the mouth. Even my twenty pound Webster's unabridged makes no such reference. Wow.

1:52 am on May 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is region a factor with 'frown'

May be. I'm happy I'm not the only one who was surprised.

11:48 am on May 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Certainly no need to be down in the mouth about it...

Syzygy

3:15 am on May 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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you have been misled.

frown is in the brow. Oscar the grouch used to sing "Let a frown be your umbrella"

what you're doing with your mouth, I would call a "grimace"

>:(

that's a frown.

:-[

that's a grimace

3:24 am on May 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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emoticons aside, these facial expressions are never just in one muscle group, a smile involves the mouth, eyes, brows, cheeks, etc. So does a frown. Furrowing the brow without the other accompanying facial changes would look like a weird pensive look.

Interesting to look into this and realize that the English language is so vague about describing the opposite of "smile". I guess it's like defining the opposite of "apple". It's not a thing with a binary state. Do other languages do a better job of categorizing facial expressions?

3:34 am on May 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is region a factor with 'frown'

Interesting: I couldn't remember ever having learnt or seen the Japanese translation of "frown", and sure enough my English-Japanese dictionary doesn't seem to know of a direct translation, instead giving a variety of phrases with similar meanings. The nearest it gives is kao wo shikameru, which a Japanese-English dictionary translates both as "grimace" and "frown".

Next time I'm in Japan I must remember to look for people furrowing their brows and ask them what they call it.

7:07 pm on May 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Need to turn to the French for 'frown'. Frogne, 'a grimace' led to 'froigner', for 'turn up one's nose'. Nothing in the Old French about the mouth.
7:29 pm on May 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm just stunned to find that, allegedly, a frown does not start with the mouth; though I would agree that it would typically include a furrowing of the brow.


Before you put on a frown, make absolutely sure there are no smiles available. ~Jim Beggs


Never frown; you never know when someone's falling in love with your smile.

[mathstory.com...]

7:40 pm on May 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What does Marcel Marceau have to say about it?
7:47 pm on May 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Marcel, when queried, saturninely said nothing...
8:15 pm on May 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It's quite difficult to "furrow your brow" and smile, or even retain a normal mouth position, at the same time, and it definitely doesn't look like a frown if you do. It makes you look mildly insane. So, though frowning is undoubtedly a brow thing it has implications for the mouth also.

I have actually been sitting here trying this out. which is sad.

4:31 pm on May 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have actually been sitting here trying this out. which is sad.

me too.

I remember something about "turn that frown upside down" or something like that as a kid. maybe part of a song or something.

 

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