Words Used To Describe Facial Expression In Performance

Here is a list of words I have compiled that will assist students of drama and theatre to describe facial expressions used by actors in performance. Often as part of their coursework, students need to analyse the play making process of a piece of their own work or evaluate a performance by themselves or others. Questions about the use of facial expressions by performers can also appear in written examinations.

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absentevil-lookingpained
aggressiveexasperatedparanoid
agonisedexhaustedpeeved
alluringfaintperpelexed
almondfakepetulant
angryfixedpiercing
anxiousfrustratedpitying
apologeticfullpleading
appealingfurrowedpouting
bashfulfurtiveprudish
beaminggazingpuckered
befuddledgentlepursed
blackglancingpuzzled
blankglaringquizzical
bleakglazedradiant
blissfulglowingregretful
blithegraverelieved
blue-eyedgrievingroguish
boredgrimround
broodinggrimacesad
brown-eyedguiltysardonic
bug-eyedhappysatisfied
bulginghardscornful
calculatinghauntedscowl
cautioushauntingsearching
chagrinedheart-shapedset
cheekyhonestshamefaced
cheerfulhopelesssheepish
cheerlesshorrifiedshocked
cholerichostileslanting
coldhotsly
compassionatehuntedsmall
composedhurtsmile
concealedhystericalsmug
concentratingidioticsomber
confidentimpassivesorrowful
coolindifferentsquinty
coyinnocentstraight-faced
crestfalleninscrutablesullen
curiousinterestedsurly
darkjeeringsurprised
deadpanjoyfulsympathetic
deceitfullanguidtaunting
dejectedleeringtaut
demurelonelytear-filled
derisivelovestrucktense
despondentmaskedthick
determinedmeaningfulthin
disappointedmeditativethoughtful
disapprovingmesmerisingtight-lipped
disbelievingmildundecided
disgustedmischievousvacant
distastefulmiserableveiled
dolefulmoodywary
dourmoroseweary
downcastmournfulwide-eyed
dreamynegativewithdrawn
ecstaticobstinatewithering
enragedoptimisticworried
enviousovalwry
etched

Not sure of the meaning of a word on the list? Look it up in the dictionary.

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4 Responses

  1. Hazel says:

    Mild is repeated once. Just thought I’d tell you.

  2. List of words now alphabetical by column, repeated words deleted, optimised for mobile view.

  3. Angie says:

    Hi Justin,
    I’ve always found these really useful. I could really use a list like this for each of the performance skills. Is that a resource you would consider creating?

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