French expression of the day: Faire la moue

French expression of the day: Faire la moue
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This expression is a great one to use on sulky children (and adults).

Why do I need to know faire la moue?

Because knowing how to actually pull a face is key knowledge when learning how to fit into French culture, so you will want to know the linguistic way of doing it too.

What does it mean?

Moue is an ancient French word for 'grimace', and faire la moue literally translates to 'do the grimace'. 

More recently, after the French began using grimace to say 'grimace', moue became a reference to a special kind of grimace; un grimace de mépris, 'a grimace of contempt' (or 'sulky face' if you prefer).

So faire la moue is today French for 'sulk', 'pout' or 'pull a face'.

You know when you pucker your lips until they resemble a sort of hostile kiss? Like this:


Faire la moue can refer to the act of giving someone the silent treatment, or just very clearly showing someone (with your face) that you are in a bad mood – an art some would argue that the French (at least Parisians) have perfected.

READ ALSO: Grumpy Parisians, drunk northerners and other French regional stereotypes


It's a great expression to use on children, but it fitting for adults too.

Use it like this

J'ai oublié son anniversaire.. Elle fait la moue depuis une semaine.. – I forgot her birthday.. She's been giving me the silent treatment for a week..

Tu fais la moue ? – Are you sulking? 

Si tu continues de faire la moue, tu n'auras rien du tout. Pas de glace pour les enfants boudeurs ! – If you keep sulking, you won't get anything at all. No ice cream for kids who pout!

Je ne fais pas la moue, je te précise simplement que tu as tort. – I'm not sulking, I'm simply pointing out that you're wrong.


Bouder – sulk

Faire la tête – do the head (means to sulk)






Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.