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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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for frown upon
Historical Examples
  • She evidently considered it her duty to frown upon such disloyalty, but couldn't.

    Hempfield David Grayson
  • Why do you frown upon me so, when you know your looks go to the heart of me?

  • Julia's face was ominous, the upper lip very straight, and a frown upon her brow.

    The Doctor's Dilemma Hesba Stretton
  • It is not easy to smile when we know that all frown upon us; else could I be content.

    The Headsman James Fenimore Cooper
  • Her father watched her for a little time with a frown upon his forehead from the pain in his head.

    The Beth Book Sarah Grand
  • "He will be very unhappy if I frown upon him," she said to herself, complacently.

    Jack's Ward Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • Once more I won, then Fortune again began to frown upon me, and I lost.

    Sheilah McLeod Guy Boothby
  • Granet, a frown upon his forehead, was looking towards the floor.

    The Kingdom of the Blind E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • In that moment, with a frown upon her forehead and a proud expression in her eyes, she seemed to me more adorable than ever.

    The Joy of Captain Ribot Armando Palacio Valds
  • Turn which way he would, the tomb of Virginia seemed to frown upon him.

    The Dreamer Mary Newton Stanard
British Dictionary definitions for frown upon


(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 upon



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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