"She was surprised by the humor that quirked his fine straight lips." From Elizabeth George Speare's 1958 book The Witch of Blackbird Pond
"Refusing to relinquish his own control in Jacksonville, Elvis created the familiar hysteria by surprise movesstanding stock-still and quirking his index finger to mimic the Elvis gyration." From Bobbie Ann Mason's 2007 book Elvis Presley: A Life
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Did you expect "quirk" to be a noun meaning "a peculiarity of action or behavior"? If so, you're probably not alone; the "peculiarity" sense of the noun "quirk" is commonly known and has been a part of our language since the 17th century. But "quirk" has long worn other hats in English, too. The sense meaning "a curve, turn, or twist" has named everything from curving pen marks on paper (i.e., flourishes) to witty turns of phrase to the vagaries or twists of fate. In contemporary English, the verb "quirk" is most often used in referring to facial expressions, especially those that involve crooked smiles or furrowed eyebrows.
Test Your Memory: What former Word of the Day comes from a Greek noun meaning "goatskin" and now can mean "protection" or "sponsorship"? The answer is ...
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