1

smile

verb \ ˈsmī(-ə)l \
Updated on: 9 Dec 2017

Definition of smile

smiled; smiling
intransitive verb
1 : to have, produce, or exhibit a smile
2 a : 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

smiler

noun

smilingly

play \ˈsmī-liŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of smile in a Sentence

  1. The photographer asked us to smile for the camera.

  2. She smiled when she saw him.

  3. Both parents smiled their approval.

Recent Examples of smile from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of smile

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).

smile Synonyms

Synonyms
beam, grin
Related Words
laugh, simper; smirk, sneer
Near Antonyms
grimace; frown, glare, gloom, glower, lower (also lour), scowl; pout, sulk

2

smile

noun

Definition of smile

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

smileless

play \ˈsmī(-ə)l-ləs\ adjective

Examples of smile in a Sentence

  1. He greeted me with a big smile.

Recent Examples of smile from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of smile

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



SMILE Defined for English Language Learners

smile

verb

Definition of smile for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of smile for English Language Learners

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


SMILE Defined for Kids

1

smile

verb \ ˈsmīl \

Definition of smile for Students

smiled; smiling
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.

2

smile

noun

Definition of smile for Students

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


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