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See also: face-palm and face palm


Alternative forms[edit]


From face +‎ palm. Attested since at least 2001.[1]



facepalm (plural facepalms)

  1. A gesture of bringing one or both palms to the face, with various interpretations.
    • 1996 June 6, Amy Borden, “SG: Slackers Anonymous #14”, in bit.listserv.superguy[1] (Usenet), retrieved 2017-02-07, message-ID <Pine.SGI.3.91.960606231711.21356A-100000@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu>:
      [Cue: William Tell Overture] [sound of Frank Zappa's “San Ber'dino” being played on Japanese instruments] [Kevin (the Muse): “Wargh! It SAID _William Tell!”] [Cantata11 (walking up with a koto): “Oof. Sorry. It's just that the girls had gotten warmed up to the other thingy...”] [Kevin: “William _Tell_, 11.” (facepalm)]
    • 1996 August 6, General Chaos, “SG: Slackers Anonymous #16 -- “Experienced?””, in bit.listserv.superguy[2] (Usenet), retrieved 2017-02-07, message-ID <Pine.LNX.3.95.960806201148.27196D-100000@eyrie.org>:
      “Do you think Carl Sagan might be available?” There was a mass-facepalm. “No.” they chorused.
    • 2008, Sara Vance-Hogan, Dies Irae: Love and Friendship, page 243:
      A look of realization crossed her face; she looked like she may have given herself a face palm if her hands weren't full.
    • 2012 July 3, Marina Hyde, “A lesson in Olymp-o-nomics”, in The Guardian:
      According to a study by me, this generates a multibillion facepalm for the UK economy, making everyone who considers it at least eleventy hundred pounds unhappier.

Coordinate terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]



facepalm (third-person singular simple present facepalms, present participle facepalming, simple past and past participle facepalmed)

  1. To bring the palm of one’s hand to one’s face as an expression of mixed humor and disbelief, disgust or shame; for example, when one is caught off-guard with a particularly bad pun.
    • 1996 May 15, Jon Robertson, “SG: Remains #2 (2/2)”, in bit.listserv.superguy[3] (Usenet), retrieved 2017-02-07, message-ID <199605160138.VAA00171@datasys.net>:
      Christie blinked, then *looked* at Steven. “Do you have any idea what might be different?” “Um... No? Christie facepalmed. “Well, her hair was red this morning, right? It's blonde now. You figure it out.”
    • 1996 May 21, Jesse Brian Taylor, “SG: Tornado Knights #10 (2/2)”, in bit.listserv.superguy[4] (Usenet), retrieved 2017-02-07, message-ID <199605220257.VAA07240@goliath.vuse>:
      “Yay! I know you! You're Nicholas Lee, the detective who got fired 'cos of us!” Nina exclaimed happily. Lee facepalmed. “Arrgh...” “Nina...” Tris muttered. “Let's quit while we're ahead, okay?”
  2. To bring one’s face down to one’s cupped hand or hands.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Found primarily in real-time text communication on the Internet, often involving image macros or ASCII art of someone facepalming.

Coordinate terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paul McFedries (1996–2023), “facepalm”, in Word Spy, Logophilia Limited.

Further reading[edit]



Unadapted borrowing from English facepalm.


facepalm m (invariable)

  1. facepalm