Any expression for this?

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closed as not a real question by kiamlaluno, aedia λ, Mitch, Robert Cartaino Sep 30 '11 at 17:02

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    Can you describe the meaning of this expression in cultural context? And in more words? Do you happen to know if there is a particular expression for this in another language (like say Farsi) that can at least be translated? – Mitch Sep 29 '11 at 20:10
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    Without more context, you're likely to get a wide variety of answers, from positive to negative meanings. Can you tell us more that doesn't rely on interpreting just the image? Is the expression well-known in pictures online of a certain type, for example (like the meme one answerer has suggested) or does it occur in a particular situation? – aedia λ Sep 29 '11 at 20:37
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    E.g. Is he saying Not bad, or is he saying Smells awful? – Daniel Sep 29 '11 at 20:41
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    It's difficult to give a definitive answer as gestures/expressions vary across cultural boundaries. Semi-jokingly - this expression could be applied as, "Hey, I shagged your wife yesterday!" <EXPRESSION> "Really...Which one?" - Nonplussed, flummoxed, disinterested could cover it :) – osknows Sep 29 '11 at 21:51
  • As someone who has worked with both Quebecois and Parisians, I can say it's a typically Gallic facial expression... – Gnawme Sep 29 '11 at 22:27

Do a Google image search on moue. I think it matches pretty well.

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    Yup, that's the word that came to mind as soon as I saw it. – AAT Sep 29 '11 at 22:22
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    I'm torn here. This is a great word, and I'm all for giving it more exposure. But most of those images look nothing like the picture in the question. Images for sturgeon face (mentioned in the comments for sequoia's answer) seem to match better, in my opinion. But back to the plus side, the intent behind moue and sturgeon face are similar (namely disdain or distaste). (I'm not convinced the expression posted is meant to be disdainful though, due to the raised eyebrows.) – John Y Sep 29 '11 at 22:47
  • Oh, I should quickly add that I'm now noticing that some sources indicate sturgeon face is meant disdainfully, while others agree more with the "not bad" interpretation. I do think it has a lot to do with the eyebrows. – John Y Sep 29 '11 at 22:53
  • @JohnY: I wish I could find an illustration rather than the images, which I agree are all over the place. ( Ahmedinejad's is a classic moue.) That being said, it's a difficult expression; I myself cannot pull it off well at all. – Gnawme Sep 29 '11 at 23:07

"Not bad!" as in "That's pretty good!" It's a look of approval, suggesting that one is impressed with what they see and that the presenter has earned their respect to some degree.

sources: Know your Meme | Wiktionary

  • The context of the similar photo of Ahmadinejad on a Newsweek cover suggests the opposite of good, with headline (at first glance) reading "Everything about Iran is Wrong". (The phrase "you think you know" after "Everything" is much less visible.) Note, this photo of Ahmadinejad is perhaps the source of the image in the question. Your meme reference uses title "Sturgeon Face". – James Waldby - jwpat7 Sep 29 '11 at 21:48
  • well, given the amount of context provided with the question, trying to give a definitive answer is a fools errand; it's like trying to answer "what's 1 + x ?" without knowing x. Given that fact, I stand firmly by my answer! If that's not a "not bad" face, I'm the queen of England. :) – sequoia mcdowell Sep 29 '11 at 21:52
  • @sequoiamcdowell - Good day, Your Majesty... How's it hangin'? – Erik Kowal Aug 14 '14 at 10:02

The most straightforward answer would be a frown, but like others have commented, facial expressions are subject to cultural interpretation. (In particular, the raised eyebrows are somewhat at odds with the extremely downward-turned mouth.)


Another option: Pretentious. Like an "I'm better than you" face.


In English as in French: 'Pffff'.


Reserved expression of approval

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