One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1British Pull a grotesque face.
scowl, frown, sneer, pout, wince, glower, lourView synonyms
- ‘Walk on and you find more of those signposts with the boy's face, and in the last ground floor room two walls of gridded photographs of the head of Horn's niece, variously smiling, grinning and girning.’
- ‘She keeps grinning and gurning at me like she's deranged, like she's going to murder me or something.’
- ‘Did you know it's now officially impossible to use the word ‘blimey’ without seeing Russell Brand gurning at a camera in the BB studio?’
- ‘It's funny how many people gurn when confronted by a camera.’
- ‘They're gurning in the aisles of the town tackle shops.’
- ‘My love for Jennifer revolves around the fact that she gurns.’
- ‘There's no loony-haired maniac gurning in a murky tunnel this time around; no prowling cat's eyed gargantuan ripping out raps menacingly.’
- ‘Why did they drag a sick man from his hospital bed on Easter Day, dress him in white, wheel him to his balcony window, then leave him for ten minutes to gurn uncontrollably at the assembled crowds below?’
- ‘Some people gurn and grimace and pull strange faces whenever a camera is waved near them, as if being caught without making a face would be somehow sneaky.’
- ‘There's no sound, just a face looking down, as though into a toilet or a bowl of water, gurning and grimacing.’
- ‘They take a really unpleasant photo of you with the world's cheapest digital camera and edit it so that it makes you look like you're gurning, then they laugh and show it to their friends before printing it onto your pass.’
- ‘I sat on the floor while people gurned and danced around my head, and I unwrapped my clingfilm sandwiches.’
- ‘So when a dispute arose over whether Ecstasy is really bad for you, the legions of E users gloated and gurned at the idea.’
- ‘He bowled superbly and the photos of us on the balcony, Freddie gurning, tell you how desperate we were to win and how close we came to losing.’
- ‘Finally I had my chance, with Freddie loitering around the corals below me, gurning for all he was worth.’
- ‘Of course, he took it as a compliment, gurning and looking around to see if anybody else had seen what he'd done.’
- ‘They flashed an actual police car, and gurned at each other, falling around laughing.’
- ‘With her pointy-witch proboscis, she gurns and sneers at her audience like a ringmaster gripped by mad cow disease.’
- ‘But though they blethered and and grumbled and girned at him, they forgot it all soon enough and laughed about his nonsense.’
- ‘It's surprising then that the it's the Jelly who take to the stage with dark grinding guitars leaving the pill poppers gurning uncomfortably.’
2Irish Scottish Complain peevishly.
complain, moan, mutter, grumble, grouse, groan, grouch, growl, carp, bleat, whine, object, make a fussView synonyms
- ‘Although what he's got to girn about is anyone's guess.’
- ‘We are sleepwalking through a consumerist theme-park, girning about the government.’
- ‘Instead of girning about Westminster we girn about Holyrood.’
- ‘Instead of girning about London, the Scots now girn about Holyrood.’
Early 20th century: dialect variant of grin.
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