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The meaning of "po-faced"?

Posted by James Briggs on January 19, 2004

In Reply to: The meaning of "po-faced"? posted by Shae on January 19, 2004

: : The Guardian: "...remembering his darling mummy, po-faced in her monster knickers, unable to laugh, cough or sneeze." I run across this expression again and again, but haven't been able to precisely understand it from context. Synonyms, anyone?

: It means wearing a disapproving, stern expression. It is often applied to a person who remains stern-faced when everyone else is enjoying themselves. The Collins Concise dictionary says it's derived from 'poor-faced.'

I always understood that it referred to the fixed expression that a poker player tries to adopt in order to hide his/her delight or disappointment at the cards they have been dealt.