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

This is not just a measure of how much people smile and laugh. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Meet the smoking-free, carbon-negative country that passes no law unless it improves citizens' well-being," 13 Sep. 2019 Two student speakers addressed family, friends and advisors who smiled and cheered as each spoke of their journey from gang life to college life. BostonGlobe.com, "Gang life led him to four years in prison. He finished his HiSet, a high school equivalency test, with help from counselors at Boston Uncornered.," 13 Sep. 2019 My husband's out there somewhere, hopefully smiling, and our daughter. NBC News, "Full transcript: Democratic debate in Houston," 13 Sep. 2019 On Saturday night, in the afterglow of a significant victory over Stanford, Swann stood outside of the locker room, smiling and shaking hands. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "USC athletic director Lynn Swann resigns," 9 Sep. 2019 In photos she’s seen smiling and looking happy, which is more than many of us can say when making our way out of a crowded airport terminal. Gina Marinelli, Glamour, "Rihanna’s Miniature Carry-On Luggage: A Big Mood," 9 Sep. 2019 Serena couldn’t help but smile, and the two hugged again. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "It’s Serena vs. a great admirer in U.S. Open final," 6 Sep. 2019 At least half the slides featured the two of them smiling and goofing off. Jennifer Miller, New York Times, "Maybe the Best Way to Find Love Is … Not on an App?," 6 Sep. 2019 But Charlotte managed a brief, confident wave and smiled and shook hands when greeted by Helen Haslem, head of the lower school. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Just call her Charlotte Cambridge: Princess Charlotte starts school," 5 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The pair were all smiles on the red carpet and even stopped to share a sweet kiss for the cameras. Claudia Harmata, PEOPLE.com, "Bella Thorne Smooches New Boyfriend on Red Carpet Five Months After Mod Sun Split," 16 Sep. 2019 June loved to host parties- always welcoming all who showed with a smile. courant.com, "June C. Barnett," 9 Sep. 2019 But later on, Charlotte, who dressed in her new school uniform, was all smiles in a portrait. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Kensington Palace Released a Sweet Portrait of Princess Charlotte & Prince George to Mark Their First Day of School," 5 Sep. 2019 When that happens, just nod and smile—a good host can take a compliment, too. Bon Appétit, "Summer Is Over But Galettes Are Forever," 5 Sep. 2019 Instead of grabbing the award, Jade just gave John a huge smile, who appears to then realize his mistake. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "John Travolta Apparently Mistook Jade Jolie as Taylor Swift at the MTV VMAs 2019," 27 Aug. 2019 The crowd was all smiles as architects erected fantastic sculptures along the coast. John-henry Perera, Houston Chronicle, "Crowd again entranced by beautiful sandcastles at 2019 Galveston competition," 24 Aug. 2019 His bride stood nearby, red-gold curls framing her face, watching her new husband with a smile. Caitlin Dwyer, Longreads, "Shared Breath," 25 July 2019 During a Friday panel for the upcoming show, Egerton was all smiles over running into another former costar of his. Jillian Sederholm, EW.com, "See Rocketman stars Taron Egerton and Richard Madden's sweet reunion at EW's Comic-Con party," 22 July 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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