physiognomy

The word physiognomy means the appearance of someone's face. When traveling in Italy, you may be struck by the pleasing physiognomy of the marble statues sculpted during the Renaissance.

The reason physiognomy sounds like it should be something you study in school right after biology, geometry, and astronomy is that people used to think that it was a science by which you could tell someone's character through their facial features. If you've ever read any Nancy Drew stories, you will know how this plays out — anyone with "shifty eyes" is not to be trusted.

Definitions of physiognomy
  1. noun
    the human face (`kisser' and `smiler' and `mug' are informal terms for `face' and `phiz' is British)
    synonyms: countenance, kisser, mug, phiz, smiler, visage
    see moresee less
    types:
    pudding face, pudding-face
    a large fat human face
    type of:
    face, human face
    the front of the human head from the forehead to the chin and ear to ear
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$19.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$19.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week