Word curio icon

Word Curio

March 25, 2020

Word of the Day: Moue

1 CQ

Word of the Day : June 14, 2017

moue \MOO\ noun


: a little grimace : pout


"I like … the way her eyes twinkle with mischief even as her mouth is set in a sulky fashionista moue." — Judith Woods, The Daily Telegraph (London), 16 Sept. 2016

"But it's [Ian] McKellen we're always watching, with his twitches and moues and wistful … recollections…." — Euan Ferguson, The Observer (London), 1 Nov. 2015

Did You Know?

Moue is one of two similar words in English that refer to a pout or grimace; the other is mow, which is pronounced to rhyme either with no or now. Mow and moue share the same origin—the Anglo-French mouwe—and have a distant relationship to a Middle Dutch word for a protruding lip. (They do not, however, share a relationship to the word mouth, which derives from Old English mūth.) While current evidence of moue in use in  English traces back only a little more than 150 years, mow dates all the way back to the 14th century. Moue has also seen occasional use as a verb, as when Nicholson Baker, in a 1988 issue of The New Yorker, described how a woman applying lip gloss would "slide the lip from side to side under it and press her mouth together and then moue it outward…."

Aired June 14, 2017

All Merriam-Webster content is available at

  • Recommended Recommended
  • History & In Progress History
  • Browse Library
  • Most Popular Library

Get Personalized Recommendations

Let us help you figure out what to learn! By taking a short interview you’ll be able to specify your learning interests and goals, so we can recommend the perfect courses and lessons to try next.

Start Interview

You don't have any lessons in your history.
Just find something that looks interesting and start learning!

500 characters max
Kay M
Surprisingly to me, I learned a new word today. Thank you for adding to my vocabulary.
500 characters max