eyebrows knitted

Discussion in 'English Only' started by sami33, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. sami33

    sami33 Senior Member


    I thought that "eyebrows knitted" means "the two eyebrows are united one to another" , but the pictures in "google image" about it show no one with such appearance. I wonder what "eyebrows knitted" exactly means. Please!

    Finally there came Jurgis, urged by some one, and the story was retold to him. Jurgis listened in silence, with his great black
    eyebrows knitted. Now and then there would come a gleam underneath them and he would glance about the room. Perhaps he would have.

    Source: The jungle by Upton Sinclair- Chapter 01
  2. pwmeek

    pwmeek Senior Member

    SE Michigan, USA
    English - American
    It means that while frowning, the eyebrows are distorted. EDIT (or while thinking hard)
  3. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    I would say "furrowed."
  4. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    Try again with the modern phrase "knitted eyebrows" instead of the rather antique "eyebrows knitted." :)
  5. pwmeek

    pwmeek Senior Member

    SE Michigan, USA
    English - American
    Furrowed usually refers to the brow (skin between hairline and eyebrows) which may look like the furrows in a plowed field when frowning or thinking hard.

    The ngram viewer shows parallel use of knitted brow and furrowed brow with knitted eyebrows running a distant third (from 1800 to 2000).
  6. sami33

    sami33 Senior Member

    Thank you very much pwmeek, Miss Julie and Myridon.
    I'm bit confused now: I wonder if "knitted eyebrows could also mean, in others context, "united and thick eyebrows".
  7. pwmeek

    pwmeek Senior Member

    SE Michigan, USA
    English - American
    For a single continuous eyebrow, see Unibrow.
  8. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    Funnily enough, according to Google books n_gram, "knitted eyebrows" was more popular than "eyebrows knitted" in the 1920s, but was overtaken in the 1940s and has run a poor second ever since. Meanwhile, "eyebrows knitted" has risen in popularity!

    Then again, Google books is a reflection of a word/expression's use in published English. Trends in spoken English may well differ.

    Edited to add: I tried the same search broken down into American and British English. The American English trend reflects very closely the overall trend as outlined above, while in BE the expressions have enjoyed fairly equal popularity (although "eyebrows knitted" is still clearly the current favourite).

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