Physiognomy (from φύσις, nature, and γνῶμον, an index), a method, rather than a science, of discovering the hulman character by means of the features, especially of the countenance. To some extent this is instinctively practiced, as all have learned to read the natural language of the tones, expression, gesture, etc., which spontaneously accompany our emotions. There can be no doubt also that passions or states of mind habitually indulged imprint themselves upon the lineaments of the face, and so become an indication of character. But when it is claimed that this is invariably the case, and that it may be reduced to fixed rules of interpretation which will serve as an unerring guide, the principle becomes proverbially deceptive. Laviter is especially famous for his fanciful scheme on this basis; and by Campe the so-called "facial angle" was relied on for determining the comparative intellectual capacity of individuals; but experience has demonstrated the fallacy of all such arbitrary systems of physiognomy.

Bible concordance for PHYSIOGNOMY.

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