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I don't understand how to use moue in a sentence. I know the definition of moue:

noun - a little grimace : pout

It says it is a noun, but whenever I've seen it used, it always comes off verb-like, unless I'm misreading.

An example:

With a moue of discontent, he set down his mug upon the table at his elbow and rubbed his hands through his hair, mussing it so that it would probably be horribly tangled when he tried to brush it later.

Either way, I still don't understand how to use this word properly. Do you always say 'moue of x' or can it be used by itself like 'His moue showed how unhappy he was'?

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+1 for an interesting question :) –  coleopterist Oct 3 '12 at 6:37
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I, for one, do not always say “moue of x”, so the answer to the first question is no. For the other half of your question, it is grammatical to say “His moue showed how unhappy he was”; but I have yet to hear anyone say such a thing. Note, wiktionary's entry for moue says

Often used in the phrase “make a moue”, influenced by French “faire la moue”, meaning “to pout”

and one of the examples cited is for “made ... a moue”:

She made what I believe, though I wouldn't swear to it, is called a moue. Putting the lips together and shoving them out, if you know what I mean. The impression I got was that she was disappointed in Bertram, having expected better things [...]. (1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing)

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So you can use it as a stand-alone then; not necessary to say moue of whenever using it? –  Souta Oct 2 '12 at 23:13
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@Souta: To be honest, I think if you want to sound like a native speaker you'd probably be better advised not to use the word at all. It's not at all common in speech anyway, so when it is used it's likely to be "{make} a moue {of disapproval}", just to make sure it's understood. –  FumbleFingers Oct 3 '12 at 0:28
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@FumbleFingers It is still a word, is it not? I had a question about how to use a word properly. It may not be used much in speech, but in quite a few writings that I've read, I've happened across this word. Since this word was strange to me, I had looked it up and still found myself confused. Most of the time I had read the word, it was used moue of and only once had I seen it as a stand-alone. That is what sparked this question. By the way, I am a native-English speaker. I'm quirky and like to say odd words. I love having an abnormal vocabulary. But I thank you for your input. –  Souta Oct 3 '12 at 0:38
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+1 For Wodehouse citation. –  StoneyB Oct 3 '12 at 0:38
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@Souta: If you say so. I don't know in what native English dialect you'd speak of having read "quite a few writings", but if you've already come across the word many times you're probably more familiar with it than most. Seriously, I've got to say much of your phrasing there seems quirky. "Most of the time I had read the word, it was used moue of", for example, is just "ordinary" words (apart from moue itself, obviously). But put together like that they certainly sound odd to me. –  FumbleFingers Oct 3 '12 at 3:13
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