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[skoul] /skaʊl/
verb (used without object)
to draw down or contract the brows in a sullen, displeased, or angry manner.
to have a gloomy or threatening look.
verb (used with object)
to affect or express with a scowl.
a scowling expression, look, or aspect.
Origin of scowl
1300-50; Middle English scoulen (v.); perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Danish skule to scowl, Norwegian skule to look furtively, though these may be < Low German schūlen to spy
Related forms
scowler, noun
scowlful, adjective
scowlingly, adverb
unscowling, adjective
unscowlingly, adverb
1. frown, lower, glare. 2. glower, gloom. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for scowled
Historical Examples
  • He considered it a very good joke, and I scowled at him several times.

    Debts of Honor Maurus Jkai
  • "I know that, too," answered the short man, and scowled deeply.

  • Syddington scowled more darkly and his hand trembled a little over the leather.

    The Arrival of Jimpson Ralph Henry Barbour
  • Mark Frayne scowled, and gave a kick out with his leg, but did not answer.

    The Queen's Scarlet George Manville Fenn
  • Thurstane took the lariat, inspected the breakage carefully, and scowled with helpless rage.

    Overland John William De Forest
  • "Drunk—" Erickson stuck his tongue in his cheek, shook his head, scowled.

    The Day Time Stopped Moving Bradner Buckner
  • And he scowled at my mother, for her comeliness; and yet looked under his eyelids as if he liked her for it.

    Lorna Doone R. D. Blackmore
  • Milt scowled and looked as though he wished he hadn't said that.

    Vital Ingredient Gerald Vance
  • He scowled as he developed his idea, and then began to issue orders.

    The Amazing Inheritance Frances R. Sterrett
  • The man who had addressed him stared, scowled, and turned away.

    Tales of Space and Time Herbert George Wells
British Dictionary definitions for scowled


(intransitive) to contract the brows in a threatening or angry manner
a gloomy or threatening expression
Word Origin
C14: probably from Scandinavian; compare Danish skule to look down, Old English scūlēgede squint-eyed
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 scowled



mid-14c., from a Scandinavian source (cf. Norwegian skule "look furtively, squint, look embarrassed," Danish skule "to scowl, cast down the eyes"). Probably related to Old English sceolh "wry, oblique," Old High German scelah "curved," German scheel "squint-eyed;" from PIE root *sqel- "crooked, curved, bent." Related: Scowled; scowling.


c.1500, from scowl (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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