Making faces

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Making faces or pulling faces is to make a facial expression on purpose that is funny, shocking or disgusting, and far from any "normal" facial expression. Making faces is mainly popular among children; adults use it in exaggerated forms of acting such as comical roles, but rarely in normal life.

Children love to experiment with how they can distort their faces (sometimes with the help of their fingers) into various funny or frightening forms. A child that makes faces may do so with the intention of amusing, or with the intention of mocking or offending another person. In the latter case, the "face" may be a replacement for a verbal attack or reply. The true intention is not always clear and the actual effect may vary from the intended one. For this reason, to be on the safe side, making faces is usually generally discouraged, irrespective of the intention. Children would be told that they should not make faces, and doing so despite the parental, kindergarten or school ban might be considered a punishable offense. In some cultures small children are, or were, occasionally threatened that if they pull faces, it may happen that their "face" will stay with them forever.

Making faces may involve one or more of the following:

  • eyes pressed shut / eyes wide open / crossed eyes
  • mouth and/or lips distorted in strange ways, possibly with the help of the tongue or fingers
  • jaw open and/or pushed forward or to one side
  • baring one's teeth
  • showing one's tongue
  • "extending" one's face with the help of hands ("long nose", "big ears", etc.)