9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 frowned
  • In fact, these managers frowned upon subscribers using the telephone as a social instrument.
  • Doing anything to cause harm in any way to the community is always frowned upon, and will harm one's reputation therefore career.
  • Back then, it wasn't frowned upon to hire your auditor.
  • They frowned more strongly upon speeding, tax-dodging or keeping stolen goods, but were more lenient about doing it themselves.
  • Either way losing sight of meritocracies should be frowned upon, especially in science.
  • Crying is frowned upon, as they believe this may hinder the spirit from reaching heaven.
  • Such sales are not frowned on if no coercion is involved.
  • In normal times, wage subsidies would be frowned upon.
  • Cutting lawyers' jobs used to be frowned upon in the profession and thus rarely happened, even in recessions.
  • Discouraging transactions was frowned upon, especially at firms trying to push their way up capital-markets league tables.
British Dictionary definitions for frowned


(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 frowned



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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