showing sadness or grief in the face, but not expressing it in words ...1788
from dumb + complaining
FIRST DOCUMENTED USE
1788 - see EXAMPLE below
"...What softness in its melancholy face,
What dumb complaining innocence appears!
Fear not, ye gentle tribes, 'tis not the knife
Of horrid slaughter that is o'er you wav'd..."
From: A Poetical Anthology or a Choice Collection of Fables, Eclogues, Epistles, Satires, Elegies, Odes, and Ballads; Selected from the Best English Poets;
The Seasons: Summer
- James Thomson