Word of the Day
Monday, June 06, 2005

Definitions for countenance

  1. Appearance or expression of the face; look; aspect.
  2. The face; the features.
  3. An approving or encouraging look or expression.

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Citations for countenance
He was not so handsome as his brother, wrote Mrs Papendiek of the Prince as he approached manhood, "but his countenance was of a sweetness and intelligence quite irresistible." Saul David, Prince of Pleasure
For Henry's sake she kept up appearances, had her hair done, applied discreet colours to her face, yet when she looked in the mirror, lipstick in hand, she saw a drained countenance, its expression wary, as if at any minute it might undergo disintegration, as if there were no longer any cells to separate the skin from the bone. Anita Brookner, Visitors
Origin of countenance
Countenance comes from Middle English contenaunce, from Old French, from Latin continentia, "restraint" (literally, "way one contains oneself"), from the present participle of continere, "to hold together; to hold in; to contain," from com-, "with, together" + tenere, "to hold." It is related to contain and content, "satisfied with what one has."