Word For Facial Expressions

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joko | 04:02 Sat 27th Mar 2021 | Arts & Literature
24 Answers
what is the word to mean 'facial expression'?

I don't mean emotions, like sad, happy etc

i mean literal facial expressions, ones that have no other meaning than an action with your face -
such as frown, smirk, pout etc

i was googling and i realised i couldnt think of a word or expression to separate just those kinds of words.

all the ones i found brought up ones that would need "he pulled a xxx face" or something to use them

is there one?

thanks :)


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Each expression has an individual name. Smile, grimace, frown......
The only generic word I can think of is ‘look’ as in ‘take that look off your face’ or ‘he had a look on his face which suggested displeasure’
Physiognomy. Slang - physog or fizzog.
Mien, countenance.
I don't think physiognomy is right....that's more about the physical structure of the face regardless of the expression
"a person's facial features or expression, especially when regarded as indicative of character or ethnic origin.
the supposed art of judging character from facial characteristics.
"a world where physiognomy was a respected practice"
the general form or appearance of something.
"the physiognomy of the landscape"
Oxford Languages

I think "expression" or "facial expression" maybe "mien" although that's about the whole body, noy just the face.

I go with Jonathan-Joe's suggestion -

Nah, countenance just means face.
yes there is a lack -
face, visage, expression - air or aspect
I wd read Jane Eyre - they go around with glum expressions the whole time whilst they die slowly from TB and see what she makes of it

English lacks needed words - you can be starved and not dead - but you cant be drownded and not dead. We are reduced to near-drowning and immersion event. The set of all facial expressions seems not to have a group word. Unlike for example - posture.
yeah physiognomy
but the fact it has a common slang - fizz
as in "wash the fizz" means that it is not serious

we were told that chem was ok for Chemistry but phizz for physics was not acceptable. As THAT place was taken by physiognomy......
and of course the old pensioner - maff
oops sozza - you didnt do maff at primary school - it was arithmetic. And we were down graded from scholars = skool kids to er schoolchildren - o god la dee dah - how language changes. scholars were brighter than we were ( we were somewhat cruelly informed in public, step forward Mr Moore(*) but we COULD be "potential scholars".
(*) we showed him by going ( oops being sent) to OXbridge and he didnt
gurn...a verb to describe facial expression
isn't that something funny... to make a face
Darwin wrote a book on facial expression
and see here

Darwin used one word for his books and seems not to have a good one for "Facial expressions and emotion in man"
yeah I have heard gurn in a dialect sense to mean any expression
this is either metonymy or meiosis - using a small part of a thing to describe the whole part

( head of cattle - hands in a factory, bums in seats and ..... Egypt which comes from a town called Qoptos)
That might work, as some places have gurning competitions. But I always took it to be about contorting the face rather than expressing anything.
This sounds like a question for Susie Dent.
The appearance or expression of someone's face: //

Cambridge Dictionary.
Zacs-Master - Nah, countenance just means face.

Not according to Chambers English Dictionary.

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