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late 14c., "art of judging characters from facial features," from Old French phizonomie and directly from Late Latin physiognomia, from Greek physiognomia "the judging of a person's nature by his features," from physio- (see physio-) + gnomon (genitive gnomonos) "judge, indicator" (see gnomon). Meaning "face, countenance, features" is from c.1400. Related: Physiognomical.
physiognomy phys·i·og·no·my (fĭz'ē-ŏg'nə-mē, -ŏn'ə-mē)
Facial features, especially when considered as an indicator of character or as a factor in diagnosis.
Estimation of one's character and mental qualities by a study of the face and general bodily carriage.
the study of the systematic correspondence of psychological characteristics to facial features or body structure. Because most efforts to specify such relationships have been discredited, physiognomy sometimes connotes pseudoscience or charlatanry. Physiognomy was regarded by those who cultivated it both as a mode of discriminating character by the outward appearance and as a method of divination from form and feature.