Lack of Expressions

Given how important facial expressions are, you’d think that there would be a lot of words for them. But when I tried to make a list, I was surprised at how few I came up with. Here is my list.

  1. Beam
  2. Fleer
  3. Frown
  4. Gape
  5. Glare
  6. Glower
  7. Grimace
  8. Grin
  9. Leer
  10. Lower (or lour)
  11. Moue
  12. Ogle
  13. Pout
  14. Rictus
  15. Scowl
  16. Simper
  17. Smile
  18. Smirk
  19. Sneer
  20. Stare

Some of these words are uncommon (like fleer, lower and moue). Some of them seem more likely to be used as verbs for staring (like glare, ogle, and stare). And some of them are synonyms (like grin and smile). That doesn’t leave us with a lot of variety. If you want to describe other facial expressions, you have to combine words, like “hangdog look,” “straight face,” “sorrowful smile,” and “furrowed brow.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like combining words. I’m just surprised that we have to when it comes to facial expressions. There ought to be more!

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