simper

1 of 2

verb

sim·​per ˈsim-pər How to pronounce simper (audio)
simpered; simpering ˈsim-p(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce simper (audio) ; simpers

intransitive verb

: to smile in a silly, affected, or ingratiating manner
Through force of will, she escaped the narrowness of Victorian daughterhood, the polite world of needlework and simpering over teacups that had always bored her.Matthew Dennison
… in September, … Pee-wee made a surprise appearance to open the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. Wide-eyed and simpering, this target of a thousand barbs asked innocently, "Heard any good jokes lately?" The audience roared—and rose to its feet, cheering.People Weekly
Or did he really mean that she should simper sweetly to get her way or, alternatively, give in gracefully to whatever the men in cabinet wanted—and then face the inevitable criticism that she was ineffectual and proof that women couldn't lead?Janine Haines

transitive verb

: to say with a simper
simpered an apology
simperer noun
plural simperers

simper

2 of 2

noun

plural simpers
: a silly, affected, or ingratiating smile
"I'm sure I must have misunderstood you, Professor Dumbledore," she said with a simper that left her big, round eyes as cold as ever.J. K. Rowling
Both stars are superb; adorable yet dangerous, these heroines for our times learn to handle things with a resounding bang, not a girlish simper.Eleanor Ringel

Example Sentences

Verb He simpered and smirked while he talked to the boss. She simpered that she had gone to all this trouble for a reason.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Judging by his simpering public appearances with Putin -- including one where Trump dissed his own US intelligence agencies -- these calls would be fascinating. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 16 Oct. 2019 In recent seasons, Philip has retreated from the world of derring-do, embracing instead a simpering self-help doctrine emblematic of the era, while Elizabeth has turned into an ever more remorseless assassin. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, 7 Mar. 2017 Lastly, Colman does beleaguered, long-suffering wife like a champ, turning what could be simpering roles into simmering ones. Vogue, 29 Oct. 2017 This story of bumbling boors, chiseling social climbers, and simpering fops gallivanting and scheming around the London countryside is crisply performed by a uniformly excellent cast. Steve Heisler, Chicago Reader, 10 July 2017 This story of bumbling boors, chiseling social climbers, and simpering fops gallivanting and scheming around the London countryside is crisply performed by a uniformly excellent cast. Steve Heisler, Chicago Reader, 10 July 2017 This story of bumbling boors, chiseling social climbers, and simpering fops gallivanting and scheming around the London countryside is crisply performed by a uniformly excellent cast. Steve Heisler, Chicago Reader, 10 July 2017 This story of bumbling boors, chiseling social climbers, and simpering fops gallivanting and scheming around the London countryside is crisply performed by a uniformly excellent cast. Steve Heisler, Chicago Reader, 10 July 2017 This story of bumbling boors, chiseling social climbers, and simpering fops gallivanting and scheming around the London countryside is crisply performed by a uniformly excellent cast. Chicago Reader, 22 June 2017
Noun
Today’s announcement marks the emergence of a new GE, a high-tech industrial GE — simper, stronger, a more focused company at the core. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, 26 June 2018 Al Capone lived as a schoolyard bully, died in a simper with a brain et by syphilis, and lives on through eternity as a cigarillo mascot and gimme film role for dark-haired white actors who want a chance to really chew some scenery. Paul Dailing, Chicago Reader, 21 Dec. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'simper.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

akin to Middle Dutch zimperlijc elegant, Danish dialect simper affected, coy

First Known Use

Verb

1562, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

1606, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of simper was in 1562

Dictionary Entries Near simper

Cite this Entry

“Simper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/simper. Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

simper

1 of 2 verb
sim·​per ˈsim-pər How to pronounce simper (audio)
simpered; simpering -p(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce simper (audio)
1
: to smile in a foolish manner
fans simpering at the star
2
: to say with a simper
simpered an apology
simperer noun

simper

2 of 2 noun
: a silly smile

More from Merriam-Webster on simper

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Fashionable Words

  • dog-sunglasses-scarf
  • Which of these items is named for a deadly weapon?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY