scrunchy [adjective]


New Member
Hi everyone,
In friends series, in s01 e05 Ross is kidding Rachel, she gives him a dirty look then Phoebe says What's the matter? Why so scrunchy?

What's the meaning of scrunchy in this part?

Thanks :)
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    This is an odd word to use in that context, LeilaY. I suppose Phoebe is using "scrunchy" to refer to the crumpled or wrinkled look of Rachel's face as she scowls at Ross.

    Sparky Malarky

    English - US
    I have seen Friends, though I can't remember series 1 episode 5.

    "Scrunchy" is an unusual thing to call someone. My guess would be the close to Owlman's, but I wonder if Rachel was sitting with her shoulders hunched an elbows tucked in, looking "scrunched up."


    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish
    I know this post is 5 years old, but I had the exact same question... Rachel isn't sitting so I don't know if the "scrunched up" theory works here. In this context, I would say it's something similar to "moody", but I guess it's not a common expression. I would love to hear new theories :)


    Senior Member
    English - England
    Scrunchy is rather rare and dated. In essence something that is "scrunchy" makes a crackling noise when it is squashed (e.g. a piece of wrapping paper, a crisp/chips packet.)

    "To be scrunched up" indicates that a person who is either curled up very tightly, or is squashed into a position that is uncomfortable because thee is no room to move.

    If we take both of these meanings, "scruchy" in this context (which, as I said, is not a "real word", more an invented one) means crackly and tightly compressed.

    From this we get a figurative meaning of someone who behaves in a sharp manner (short-tempered) and is internally tense.

    I suggest that you take note but never use the word.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    Scrunchy does not seem to be usually used in this way. But Merriam-Webster’s definition 2c of SCRUNCH as a transitive verb is: to cause (something, such as one’s features) to draw together — usually used with up.

    This tends to support Owlman’s 5-year-old guess in #2.


    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    OED also supports Owlman's idea, by recognizing the adjective scrunchy not only as "something that scrunches or emits a crisp, crunching sound when crushed", but also, in its draft additions 2011, as "of a wrinkled or ruffled appearance".
    There are even some face-related citations:

    1933 Indiana (Pa.) Progress 8 Mar. 4/4 Her eyes had looked all scrunchy when she told him.
    2009 C. Martinusen-Coloma Ruby Unscripted iv. 36 Aunt Jenna does that little scrunchy face she gets when trying to tell me something without hurting my feelings.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Phoebe is the odd one so it could be Phoebe-speak and nothing so specific.

    So I just watched it. It starts about 2:45 from the beginning.

    The odd thing is that while Rachel is clearly aggravated with Ross (but actually mad at her father, which is causing her to be in a bad mood) she doesn't actually scrunch up her face at all. Almost the opposite. She just taps her pen in exasperation and casually stares at him. But when Phoebe asks the question, Phoebe does scrunch up her own face (and her hands, too). So I think Phoebe is using it semi-figuratively to mean "Why are you in such a bad mood?"
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