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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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a distortion of the countenance, whether habitual, from affectation, or momentary aad occasional, to express some feeling, as contempt, disapprobation, complacency, etc.; a smirk; a made-up face. Moving his face into such a hideons grimace, that every feature of it appeared under a different distortion. (Addison)

Half the french words used affectedly by Melantha in Dryden's Marriage a-la-Mode, as innovations in our language, are now in common usa: chagrin, doubleentendre, eclaircissement, embarras, equivoque, foible, grimace, naivete, ridicule. All these words, which she learns by heart to use occasionally, are now in common use.

Origin: f, prob. Of teutonic origin; cf. As. Grma mask, specter, Ical. Grma mask, hood, perh. Akin to E. Grin.