Share this entry

Share this page

po-faced

Line breaks: po-faced
Pronunciation: /ˈpəʊfeɪst
 
/

Definition of po-faced in English:

adjective

British
Humourless and disapproving: don’t be so po-faced about everything
More example sentences
  • So it goes with the po-faced and utterly humourless 911.
  • Any social commentary is mostly of the exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin variety and is ultimately po-faced and humourless.
  • What a depressing lack of sense too from this increasingly po-faced Government, which displayed once more its desire to interfere, to have something to say about everything.

Origin

1930s: perhaps from po, influenced by poker-faced.

More
  • The po in po-faced, ‘humourless and disapproving’, probably comes from the use of po to mean ‘chamber pot’, though it might also have been influenced by the exclamation ‘poh!’, used to reject something contemptuously. In any event, the phrase is likely to be modelled on the expression poker-faced (early 20th century). This comes from the need to keep a deadpan face when playing poker. The game, first recorded in the 1830s in the USA probably gets its name from the German word pochen ‘to brag’.

Definition of po-faced in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day odium
Pronunciation: ˈəʊdɪəm
noun
widespread hatred or disgust for someone…