facial expression
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A sneer is a facial expression of scorn or disgust characterized by a slight raising of one corner of the upper lip, known also as curling the lip or turning up the nose. In The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals, Charles Darwin defined a "sneer" as "the upper lip being retracted in such a manner that the canine tooth on one side of the face alone is shown".

"Christ Carrying the Cross" (1515 AD) by Hieronymus Bosch — illustrating the facial expression known as a "sneer"


  • I am, in point of fact, a particularly haughty and exclusive person, of pre-Adamite ancestral descent. You will understand this when I tell you that I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule. Consequently, my family pride is something inconceivable. I can't help it. I was born sneering.
  • While utterly discarding all creeds, and denying the truth of all religions, there is neither in my heart nor upon my lips a sneer for the hopeful, loving and tender souls who believe that from all this discord will result a perfect harmony... .
  • Whoever attacks a custom or a creed, will be confronted with a list of the names of the dead who upheld the custom, or believed the creed. He is asked in a very triumphant and sneering way, if he knows more than all the great and honored of the past. Every defender of a creed has graven upon his memory the names of all "great" men whose actions or words can be tortured into evidence for his doctrine
  • When you pull up your upper lip----when you show that one top tooth, the one the museum guard broke----this is your levator labii superioris muscle at work. Your sneer muscle. Let's pretend you smell some old stale urine. Imagine your husband's just killed himself in your family car. Imagine you have to go out and sponge his piss out of the driver's seat.
  • Don't ever curdle that creamy brow with lines of easy disdain, or curl those lips with a popular sneer.
    • Robert Patrick, Untold Decades: Seven Comedies of Gay Romance (1988), "One of Those People".

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 722.
  • There was a laughing Devil in his sneer,
    That raised emotions both of rage and fear.
  • Who can refute a sneer?
    • William Paley, Moral Philosophy, Of Reverencing the Deity, Volume II, Book V, Chapter IX.
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