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"Why's your forehead all red?"

So you're the Only Sane Man, and the lunatics around you are once again doing something to make you question your faith in humanity. *sighs* It may not solve anything, but raising your hand to your forehead will have the dual benefit of temporarily obscuring your vision of the idiocy as well as cradling the oncoming headache. Variations occur, from pinching the bridge of one's nose to slapping one's forehead(basically a Dope Slap to oneself for the "idiocy" of putting up with this mess). One may also follow up the slap with sliding the palm of the hand down their face, possibly with a look of exasperation. If they're wearing a hat, expect them to pull the brim of the hat over their eyes in disgust. If they're wearing a cloak or a hoodie, then they're pulling the cowl before their face.

Sometimes, there is a distinction between the forehead facepalm (for irritating moments) and the full-face version (humiliation). There's also the Double Face Palm, which is grasping one's head with both palms, as Picard did in "The Offspring"; this one is far more commonly associated with embarrassment. Some people even have gone meta, inserting "*picture of French Enterprise captain*" in their forum posts.


Needless to say, it's also prevalent in Real Life. And it's universal; a wide range of cultures, and even animals capable of reaching their faces with their arms/forelegs, seem to have some variety of this.

It may be accompanied by the line "That's the Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard!" It may also be combined with I Need a Freaking Drink. Applying a Dope Slap is often a form of ready relief for the headaches that cause a Face Palm.

A Sister Trope to Head Desk (in particularly extreme cases, these actions can also be combined to perform a *facepalmheaddesk* maneuver), Face Fault, Disapproving Look, (which is also known as the "Implied Facepalm").

Compare Surrounded by Idiots, Only Sane Man, The Take.

See also Aside Glance, Stunned Silence.

Not directly related to Face Palm Of Doom, in which you attack by placing your palm on someone else's face.


Now in Webster's Dictionary here!

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • Jack in the Box. Jack and others facepalm themselves and/or massage their heads in various commercials.
  • V-8 vegetable juice used a campaign for quite a while that involved people dealing themselves the forehead slap version when they realized "Duh, I could have had a V-8!" The campaign was later revived with other people delivering a forehead variant of the Dope Slap to the person who didn't eat their vegetables and the tagline changed to You could have had a V-8!".
  • The Discover Card Peggy commercial "Transfer" ends with the caller standing bent over a planter, her face buried in her hands in frustration.
  • GEICO:
    • The Gecko, when the company briefly considers using a campy cartoon version of him.
      "So you've turned me into a cartoon. Lovely."
    • Also, with the Gecko, Rocky and Bullwinkle. Rocky is the one who does the facepalm first. The Gecko just catches on to it.
      Rocky: Aww, come on, Bullwinkle. They're named after—
      Bullwinkle: First president George Rockington!
      [Rocky looks at Gecko]
      Gecko: That doesn't even make any sense, Mr. ...uh... Winkle.
    • There's also a print ad that talks about saving money with GEICO being no laughing matter. The ad depicts an iguana stating "I-guana save you money" and the Gecko standing next to him, facepalming.

  • Plate 10 of William Hogarth's Industry and Idleness series of prints shows industrious 'prentice Francis Goodchild, now Alderman of London, doing this as his idle counterpart Tom Idle is brought before him on charges of highway robbery and murder.
  • Across the street from the Oklahoma City National Memorial is a statue of Jesus Christ performing this gesture. The statue, "And Jesus Wept", depicts him averting his gaze and crying at the loss of life in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing that killed 168 people in 1995, in addition to severely damaging St. Joseph's Catholic Church, which used to be located where the statue now stands (the congregation of the church financed the statue's construction).

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Mighty Little Defenders episode 2, General Wolf does one when one of the wolves tries to shoot a cannonball at the barrier protecting Goat Village.

  • Random Assault: Mitch once tried to make one audible on the show.
    Mitch: Did you hear that? That was the sound of me face-palming, that was so bad.

    Print Media 
  • Maclean's magazine columnist Scott Feschuk's author thumbnail has him doing this. Considering the fact that his column focuses on satirizing some of the most facepalm-inducing topics of the month, this is quite appropriate (it's also hilarious to imagine him doing it while typing out his article).

    Pro Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show:
    • Sam the Eagle is a frequent practitioner of the facewingtip, but he will often simply utter his signature phrase, "You are all weirdos."
    • Others try them out now and then, such as Rowlf in the Rudolf Nureyev episode facepawing when Fozzie cuts through a candle with a blowtorch.
  • Parker on Mr. Meaty does this gesture in the episode "Hamish" in annoyance at Josh talking to Goth Girl.
  • Betty Lou does so on the Sesame Street game show sketch "The Triangle Is Right" after Carl Mericana answers "A Circle".


    Tabletop Games 
  • Pretty much any Game Master is expected to end up like this at least once per session, usually caused by one or more players' stupidity (or Incredibly Lame Pun). In certain circles, it's even nicknamed the GM's facepalm.
  • Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine: This is one of the standard XP Emotions, indicating a character who is hapless and goofy and thus can earn XP by inducing amused facepalms among the other players. Of the Glass-Maker's Dragon core characters, this honour goes to the Wishing Boy/Girl, a character whose use of the ability to rewrite the universe with few hard and fast restrictions largely boils down to "I wish seagulls were cooler" and failed attempts to get ice cream.

  • In the 2000 production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Jusas's reaction to Simon and his calls for armed revolution in the song "Simon Zealotes" is a series of continual face-palms, followed by continual glares at Jesus for allowing it to get this bad in the first place.

    Visual Novels 
  • Katawa Shoujo
    • Rin Tezuka has her own unique variation.
    • In Lilly's Act 1 ending, Hisao does this when Lilly responds to his asking about her being depressed over Akira's departure by saying that "Akira's taken."
      Hisao: Lilly never sees how fast my palm meets my face at her sly accusation.
  • Done in a single finger-way by Kotoko Minaduki in a concept art of Tokimeki Memorial 2; on the other hand, the final art scratches this in favor of a "let's ignore those idiots" look.
  • In Fate/stay night, Rin Tohsaka can often be found doing this, usually in response to something Shiro said.

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 
  • There are giant montages available on certain image boards consisting of nothing but anime characters facepalming. There are montages of facepalm pictures that, once zoomed out enough, look like Picard facepalming. Such as this.
  • I told you to ''slay'' the dragon...
  • There's a "special feeling meme", in which two characters will be shown being interviewed for TV, with one saying "Being in the snow with your lover immerses me with a special feeling. I like it." while the other one blushes and face palms. A Puella Magi Madoka Magica example is here.
  • The Gord, from the website Acts of Gord, apparently does this a lot. About every chapter of the "Books" has a small image of Gord facepalming while commenting on the worst idiocy on the page.
  • DesuDesBrigade member CJ Hitchcock did this repeatedly during his Vampire Wars review when he found out that Kuki's code name would be Bat instead of Van Helsing.
  • The Bandwidth Theater episode "Ninja Massage Therapist" sees the title character do a Face Palm after catching himself in a dumb mistake.
  • The Mario Fan Games Galaxy forums contains a "facepalm" smiley, probably better known by its filename of "ugh.gif". It was used and abused so much that it was even temporarily filtered to "Don't worry, I can relate". This was taken from Something Awful. Facepunch Studios also inherited the smiley for a while, then took it out when it was abused in the In The News forum.
  • Not Always Legal: In this case, the defense lawyer put his head in his hands after his client asked the court "Yeah, so, if I'm found innocent, does... does that mean I get to keep the stuff I took?"
  • SF Debris: SF Debris very often talks about facepalming in his reviews of various sci-fi shows, focusing primarily on Star Trek. In the review of "Realm of Fear" from Star Trek: The Next Generation, he says he literally facepalmed when Deanna Troi counselled Reginald Barkley on his phobia.
  • found this entirely appropriate reaction.
  • Topless Robot often features the page image in their "Fan Fiction Friday" articles. In one example, they have a combination of this and the image of Toht's face melting in a "Toht-Palm" image for passages in fan fiction that are disturbing and nonsensical.
  • On TV Tropes, if a certain show/video game/comic/etc. has it's own Wall Banger or DMOS page, odds are an image of one of the characters facepalming will be the page image.


Video Example(s):


Naked Gun - Facepalm

This happens when Frank attempts to get the gun from Rocko while holding onto the bomb in the envelope only for them to switch places causing everyone including the audience to facepalm.

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Example of:

Main / Facepalm

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Main / Facepalm