If your friend says something sarcastic to you unexpectedly when you are talking about something that makes you exited or your innermost feelings and makes you feel stupid. What's the most widely accepted idiom for your facial expression? Does your face falls or your face clouds over? Is there a more appropriate word that describes it?

  • Cloud over is a very interesting idiom Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 17:10

10 Answers 10




(be chagrined)

Feel distressed or humiliated:


From 100 Words for Facial Expressions, by Mark Nichol, on dailywritingtips.com:

  1. Chagrined: humiliated or disappointed

From A Bit of Blue Ribbon, by Sarah Beaumont Kennedy, in Outing, Volume 27, 1896, page 5:

The girl with the parasol nodded, the marvelous blonde with the chagrined face merely turned her head.

From The Netherfield Affair, by Penelope Swan, 2015:

Elizabeth hid a smile as she saw Miss Bingley's chagrined face.

The text emoticon for chagrined is half grin; half grimace:


The emoticon immage:

enter image description here

  • 2
    +1 for the text emoji (answer's not half-bad, either).
    – user98990
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 2:45
  • @scotM, excellent word...
    – Manish
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 3:40

Possibly "doleful" would be appropriate,

doleful adjective: expressing sorrow; mournful. "a doleful look"

synonyms: mournful, woeful, sorrowful, sad, unhappy, depressed, gloomy, morose, melancholy, miserable, forlorn, wretched, woebegone, despondent, dejected, disconsolate, downcast, crestfallen, downhearted. See, Google doleful

Or perhaps, "crestfallen",

crestfallen adjective: sad and disappointed. "he came back empty-handed and crestfallen"

synonyms: downhearted, downcast, despondent, disappointed. See, Google crestfallen

enter image description here

Richard Sherman following Butler's SB interception

  • 1
    I saw Richard Sherman's crest fall live: That is a perfect context for unexpected disappointment!
    – ScotM
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 16:26

There is no word for such a facial expression, except, perhaps, a grimace.

The feeling is dismay or consternation.

  • 1
    Grimace is one, which could also be used as a verb, e.g. she grimaced.But there are others, such as her face fell, she scowled, she glowered, she winced , her face contorted with disappointment etc.
    – WS2
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 23:51

I think "fall" would work but adding "in disappointment" would make it clearer:

His face fell in disappointment.

The link also has some other options for both disappointment (FC122) and embarrassment (FC121, right above).


The answers to this question are very interesting... They all assume that the disappointed party is in a position to display genuine emotion. I have found that the normal response in this situation, if there are others present, is the (often pathetic) forced smile. (Think of the expressions of the losing nominees, when the Oscar winner is announced.)


The best answer is grimace

noun 1. a facial expression, often ugly or contorted, that indicates disapproval, pain, etc.



  • 1
    -1 for copying my answer
    – Emma Dash
    Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 16:09
  • @EmmaDash, + for grimace
    – Manish
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 3:39
  • Sorry Emma at the time I posted it I didn't see your response, which is strange because I double checked to make sure. I'll give you a +1 :)
    – Neil
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 1:51

A downcast expression for a dispirited or resigned feeling?


Perhaps deflated

to reduce in size, importance, or effectiveness deflate his ego with cutting remarks


Or crushed

to defeat or humiliate utterly, as in argument or by a cruel remark


[but I still like @Little Eva's crestfallen]


"His face cringed" should be a good candidate, as show the many examples linked from Google Books. That would be after a painfully felt disappointment.


I like the colloquial term gobsmacked.

From That's Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, and What Our English Says About Us, by Erin Moore:

Every so often, a word comes along that means just what it sounds like. It may not be onomatopoetic, but even if you've never heard it before, you instantly get the idea. Gobsmacked is such a word. It means, figuratively, to be flabbergasted, amazed, or astounded. Literally, it means to be smacked in the mouth, as in the song “Gobsmacked” by Chumbawamba (“Outside the pub / Smack you in the gob /...

  • Gobsmacked doesn't mean that you were unexpectedly disappointed, does it? It means that you were shocked.
    – TonyK
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 9:19

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