1. the face or countenance, esp. when considered as an index to the character: a fierce physiognomy.
2. the art of determining character or personal characteristics from the form or features of the body, esp. of the face.
3. the outward appearance of anything, taken as offering some insight into its character: the physiognomy of a nation.
But a fortnight after his departure, to the surprise of those around her, she recovered from her mental sickness just as suddenly and became her old self again, but with a change in her moral physiognomy, as a child gets up after a long illness with a changed expression of face.
Within it, thrust partly out of the window, appeared the physiognomy of the old man, with a skin as yellow as if his own Midas-hand had transmuted it.
When one knows how to look, one finds the spirit of a century, and the physiognomy of a king, even in the knocker on a door.
It is a terrible idea, but it is historic, it is statistic; it is indeed one of those facts which enables an intelligent historian to reconstruct the physiognomy of a special epoch, for it brings out this further point with mathematical accuracy, that the clergy were in those days sixty times richer and more flourishing than the rest of humanity.
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Definition 2 would be a nice pair to "phrenology," the art of reading someone's character by the bumps and contours of the skull. Phrenology takes the top and back, physiognomy the front. Both theories long abandoned, but good words nonetheless.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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