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The hairy stripe above the eye sockets of some mammals is referred to as the eyebrow (Latin Supercilium ), or brow for short (from Middle High German brā , “eyelash, brow”) . The eyebrows serve to protect the eyes from sweat , moisture, dust or other foreign bodies and thus support the function of the eyelashes . The eyebrows are also important for non-verbal communication . Your position and movement are part of a person's facial expressions and make facial expressions clearly legible from a few meters away.


The following two facial muscles are important for the eyebrows: The eyebrow lifter ( frontalis muscle ) , also known as the forehead muscle or hood muscle, lies across the entire width of the forehead up to the hairline. The eyebrow frown ( Corrugator supercilii muscle ) can pull the central side of the eyebrows down and thus causes the frown.

facial expressions

Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer on the set of War and Peace (1956)

Facial expressions include, for example, the drawing together of the eyebrows, which represents astonishment or anger. The lifting of the eyebrows is made possible by the lift muscle. The eyebrows are raised in response to surprise or amazement, attention or fear.

In the conventions of many cultures , raising eyebrows has a special meaning:

A study published in 2003 and carried out at MIT showed, among other things, that test subjects could only identify 46% of the celebrities shown to them from a picture of their face from which the eyebrows had been removed. If you showed them photos without eyes, it was still 56%. The results made it possible to draw conclusions regarding the importance of the eyebrows in the recognition of a face.

Ideals of beauty

In many societies, especially in the western world, eyebrows are often shaped by plucking with tweezers , singeing or treating them with wax. Which shape is perceived as ideal depends on the respective fashion. Repeated plucking can result in the eyebrow hair no longer growing back at this point.

Grown brows or "monobrow"

Eyebrows that have grown together are medically called synophrys , "monobrow", or regionally also "Rätzel". In these cases, the area called the glabella above the root of the nose also has thicker hair. Eyebrows that have grown together are common and very rarely caused by the disease, for example as a symptom of a partial trisomy 3 . The Italian doctor Cesare Lombroso (1835–1909) listed in an early attempt at profiling, among other things, the combination of dark hair and eyebrows that had grown together among the ten characteristics by which one could recognize criminals. In western countries, eyebrows that have grown together are generally considered a blemish, but in some parts of the world, such as Central Asia, they are considered an ideal of beauty for women .

See also

Web links

Commons : Eyebrows  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: eyebrow  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Jürgen Martin: The 'Ulmer Wundarznei'. Introduction - Text - Glossary on a monument to German specialist prose from the 15th century. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1991 (= Würzburg medical-historical research. Volume 52), ISBN 3-88479-801-4 (also medical dissertation Würzburg 1990), p. 121.
  2. Javid Sadrô, Izzat Jarudi, Pawan Sinhaô: The role of eyebrows in face recognition. In: Perception . 32, No. 3, 2003, pp. 285-293, doi: 10.1068 / p5027 .
  3. ^ Tom O'Connor: History of Profiling. Archived from the original on October 17, 2007 ; accessed on July 7, 2009 .