This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. See our privacy statement
World Wide Words logo

Metoposcopist

Pronounced /ˌmɛtəˈpɒskəpɪst/Help with IPA

A metoposcopist is a person who practices metoposcopy. So far so good.

Metoposcopy is the art of judging a person’s character and fortune from his face, principally his forehead. This is not so strange an idea, since that part of the face is prominent and expressive. Persons with high foreheads are considered brainy; those with short ones are sometimes thought to be almost Neanderthal. The play of the muscles on the forehead in concentration or contemplation is an expressive reflection of the mind working beneath the skin.

Metoposcopy was a medieval method of assessment, together with such related techniques as chiromancy (divination using the hand) and podomancy (which is prognostication from the condition of one’s feet). The more general term that refers to the whole face is physiognomy. Metoposcopy is said to have been invented in the sixteenth century by Gerolomo Cardano, a man better known for his pioneering work in medicine and mathematics. His book, Metoposcopia Libri Tredecim, contained more than 800 woodcuts illustrating facial positions he suggested were associated with temperament and destiny.

The word comes via Late Latin from Greek and derives from the Greek word metopon, forehead.

Page created 5 Apr. 2003

Support World Wide Words.

Donate by selecting your currency and clicking the button.


Buy anything from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you.

Buy from Amazon UK Buy from Amazon USA

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved. See the copyright page for notes about linking to and reusing this page. For help in viewing the site, see the technical FAQ. Your comments, corrections and suggestions are always welcome.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-met1.htm
Last modified: 5 April 2003.