mu • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A slightly pouting expression used to indicate doubt or disbelief or, occasionally, to flirt.
Notes: Today's word is an easy one, so easy, in fact, that any cow can say it. It may also be spelled mow and pronounced [mo], for the expression "to make a mow" is a much earlier version of the same word (see Word History). We may also use it as a verb when we moue at someone. Just remember to keep the conversation away from cows when saying it and all those vowels straight in writing it.
In Play: Basically, the moue is the facial expression accompanying pouting: "When I told Billy that he could not have dessert until he finished his vegetables, he made a little moue and left the table." However, girls sometimes use it as a hint to boys: "Myrtle batted her eyelids and made a slight moue as she asked Lance if he were not taking her to the dance."
Word History: Today's Good Word was taken from Middle French mouwe or moe "grimace". At first it was pronounced [mo] and was even spelled mow. However, in the 19th century it began to appear with the current French spelling, moue, and meaning "pout". The first recorded instance of the new spelling was in Thackeray's The History of Pendennis (1849): "She looked at her face and made a moue in the glass." The French probably borrowed the word from Middle Dutch mouwe "grimace, pout". How it came to be in Middle Dutch, no one that I know knows. (Certainly no one at alphaDictionary made a moue at Peggy Nielsen's recommendation of this Good Word for our series.)
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