smile

verb
\ ˈsmī(-ə)l How to pronounce smile (audio) \
smiled; smiling

Definition of smile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to have, produce, or exhibit a smile
2a : to look or regard with amusement or ridicule smiled at his own folly— Martin Gardner
b : to bestow approval feeling that Heaven smiled on his labors— Sheila Rowlands
c : to appear pleasant or agreeable

transitive verb

1 : to affect with or by smiling
2 : to express by a smile

smile

noun

Definition of smile (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a facial expression in which the eyes brighten and the corners of the mouth curve slightly upward and which expresses especially amusement, pleasure, approval, or sometimes scorn
2 : a pleasant or encouraging appearance

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Other Words from smile

Verb

smiler noun
smilingly \ ˈsmī-​liŋ-​lē How to pronounce smilingly (audio) \ adverb

Noun

smileless \ ˈsmī(-​ə)l-​ləs How to pronounce smileless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for smile

Synonyms: Verb

beam, grin

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Examples of smile in a Sentence

Verb

The photographer asked us to smile for the camera. She smiled when she saw him. Both parents smiled their approval.

Noun

He greeted me with a big smile.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Davenport sat on a short white column, leaned her elbow against another, and smiled for the picture. Los Angeles Times, "Kacey Musgraves and Tom’s One Hour Photo: The whole story," 31 Aug. 2019 No matter your measure or metric, Hall of Fame golfer Phil Mickelson has embraced social media in ways that cause real, honest-to-giggling-goodness smiles to light his face. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: ‘Fun Phil’ Mickelson dives into social media while helping San Diego kids," 30 Aug. 2019 Irish Days| Long Grove: All eyes will be smiling when Historic Downtown Long Grove presents its annual Irish Days, a 3-day family-friendly celebration of Irish culture, music, food and beer, August 31 – September 2. Holly Baumbach, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago’s end of summer festivals," 30 Aug. 2019 One minute, Thore and her friends are having fun, laughing and smiling while decked out in rainbow eyeshadow. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Whitney Way Thore Is Changing Reality TV for Fat Women," 29 Aug. 2019 The unfortunate team from pot four to be drawn with these European giants is Czech side Slavia Prague whose representatives in the audience could only smile after seeing its name added to the group. Matias Grez, CNN, "Barcelona drawn in Champions League 'group of death'; Liverpool gets Napoli," 29 Aug. 2019 Still smiling, Hosk simply picked up the accessory and put it back in its place. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Victoria's Secret Angel Elsa Hosk Dropped an Earring on the Red Carpet and Recovered Like a Champ," 29 Aug. 2019 One photo finds her smiling beneath a haircut that’s not quite as bowl as in her later years. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "Banderas, Zellweger, Scorsese, even Bill Gates — the 2019 Telluride Film Fest line-up is oh-so star-studded," 29 Aug. 2019 Featuring a rolling cast of characters, which can go as many as 20 members deep at times, Hartford Hot Several is a raucous group that will get the entire family moving and smiling. Chip Mccabe, courant.com, "Hartbeat Music Festival: Take a listen to the 24 bands that will play for 12 hours on Hartford’s Riverfront Plaza," 27 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The news should be delivered with a big smile and maybe even ice cream to celebrate. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, "Dear Abby: Mom needs to set some boundaries for young outgoing daughter," 29 Aug. 2019 Thank you for welcoming me and giving me your smiles today. Marcy Oster, sun-sentinel.com, "Cleveland Indians star Yasiel Puig visits Jewish camp for kids with cancer," 22 Aug. 2019 Her enthusiasm was infectious and her smile lit up a room. Doha Madani, NBC News, "Mother in prominent Atlanta family suspected of killing 2 children, herself in murder-suicide," 22 Aug. 2019 There would be too much dancing, too much food and too many smiles. Marcus Harrison Green, The Seattle Times, "Cultural embrace: Defying acts of hatred, Seattle-area Afrolatino Festival goes on," 18 Aug. 2019 During the holidays, children were delighted by Ted as Santa on the Polar Express, and his smile and welcoming presence were also found at the Donut Hut at the Medina County Fair and volunteering for the Salvation Army. Sam Boyer, cleveland.com, "Newly licensed, he takes his parents for a ride; Sergio comes to Medina: Whit & Whimsey," 16 Aug. 2019 Starr is positively chilling in this role, switching between his charming public persona and his violent private one with ease, but his camera-ready smile never reaches his cold, hard eyes. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: The Boys is the perfect therapy for chronic superhero fatigue," 9 Aug. 2019 But this week, fans have noticed that Johnson appears to have made a dental change that switches up her smile. Raisa Bruner, Time, "People Are Bidding Farewell to Dakota Johnson's Old Smile," 6 Aug. 2019 With her hair in Bantu knots and makeup artist Priscilla Ono on hand to provide a swipe of lime eyeshadow, Rihanna greeted the crowds with a smile. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Rihanna Proves She’s the Queen of Crop Over in Barbados," 5 Aug. 2019

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

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First Known Use of smile

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for smile

Verb

Middle English smilen, going back to a Germanic verbal base *smil-, *smīl- (from earlier *smei̯l-) "smile," probably an extension with -l- of Indo-European *smei̯- "laugh, smile," whence Old Church Slavic smějǫ sę, smijati sę "to laugh," Latvian smeju, smiêt "to laugh, mock," Tocharian B smi- "smile," Sanskrit smáyate "(s/he) smiles," and with a -d- extension in Greek meidiáein "to smile," philomeidḗs "with a friendly smile," Latvian smaida "smile," smaidît "to smile, mock"

Note: The comparative set for this Germanic etymon do not show clear descent from a single form, perhaps due to its affective character. There is no attested Old English ancestor of Middle English smilen; a Scandinavian source has been suggested, but Danish smile "to smile" and Swedish smila, not attested before the 17th century, could be loans from an unattested Middle Low German verb. Old High German has smilenter (glossing Latin subridens "smiling"), with presumed long vowel, continued by Middle High German smielen. Kiliaen's 1599 Dutch dictionary enters smuylen "subridere," apparently with a different vocalism. Parallel to these are a group of forms with -r- rather than -l-: Old English smerian "to laugh, scorn," Old High German smierēn, smierōn (with e2?) "to smile," Old English bismerian and Old High German bismerōn "to mock, insult," and, with different vocalism, Old English smǣr, smǣre "lip(s)," gālsmǣre "inclined to laugh, frivolous." The forms with -r- have been compared with Sanskrit (Vedic) á-smera- "not bashful, confiding," and particularly with Latin mīrus "remarkable, amazing," presumed to be derivative of a neuter *mīrum, going back to a noun *smei̯-ro- "laughter, smiling," (though a semantic shift from "laughter" to "astonishment" is questionable).

Noun

Middle English smyle, derivative of smilen "to smile entry 1"

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More Definitions for smile

smile

verb

English Language Learners Definition of smile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make a smile : to make the corners of your mouth turn up in an expression that shows happiness, amusement, pleasure, affection, etc.
: to show or express (something, such as approval, encouragement, etc.) by a smile
: to say (something) with a smile

smile

noun

English Language Learners Definition of smile (Entry 2 of 2)

: an expression on your face that makes the corners of your mouth turn up and that shows happiness, amusement, pleasure, affection, etc.

smile

verb
\ ˈsmīl How to pronounce smile (audio) \
smiled; smiling

Kids Definition of smile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : make the corners of the mouth turn up in an expression of amusement or pleasure
2 : to look with amusement or pleasure She smiled at the picture.
3 : to express by a smile Both parents smiled approval.

smile

noun

Kids Definition of smile (Entry 2 of 2)

: an expression in which the corners of the mouth turn upward especially to show amusement or pleasure

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More from Merriam-Webster on smile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with smile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smile

Spanish Central: Translation of smile

Nglish: Translation of smile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smile for Arabic Speakers

Comments on smile

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