smile

1 of 2

verb

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 follyMartin Gardner
b
: to bestow approval
feeling that Heaven smiled on his laborsSheila 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 adverb

smile

2 of 2

noun

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 adjective

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The display features a smiling photo of Nonna next to a red vinyl record of her granddaughter's seventh studio album, as well as an image of her song's position at No. 55 on the chart. Sadie Bell, Peoplemag, 17 Apr. 2024 As a smiling Meghan turns and says something to her husband, Harry seems to tell her to turn around and face forward. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, 16 Apr. 2024 The familiar face of the pig that has smiled down on many car washes and Girl Scout cookie sales and hundreds of shoppers will continue for a few more weeks, but on Sept. 22, Piggly Wiggly will become Milam’s Market. Miami Herald Archives, Miami Herald, 16 Apr. 2024 Much like Montalvo, Pavlenko speaks with a calm warmth, smiling often and choosing her words carefully. Brandon Sneed, Rolling Stone, 16 Apr. 2024 Rosemary smiled and tilted her head in different directions, like a royal in a coronation procession. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, 15 Apr. 2024 In one image, a soldier held a leash around the neck of a detainee; in another, soldiers smiled beside naked and hooded prisoners piled into a pyramid. Mallory Moench, TIME, 14 Apr. 2024 The video opens on a close-up of her bloodied thumb before zooming out to show Furtado still smiling. Shania Russell, EW.com, 14 Apr. 2024 As the teen crumples to the ground under a series of punches, a second probation officer can be seen shaking hands with one of the previous attackers and smiling. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2024
Noun
Foster lingers to greet every one, the smiles genuine, the handshakes firm. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 18 Apr. 2024 Grant’s restaurant, which opens Friday at 506 W. Grove St. in The Lucy building, will nudge Boise’s culinary ambitions further along — with an easygoing smile. Michael Deeds, Idaho Statesman, 18 Apr. 2024 Gilbert wraps her arms around the girls and their mom and smiles. Laura Trujillo, USA TODAY, 17 Apr. 2024 In the photo, Garner wears a fluffy tutu and smiles for the camera. Andrea Wurzburger, Peoplemag, 17 Apr. 2024 Chicken tenders and nachos had just been delivered by a room service attendant who attempted to hide her smile at the scene of our poolside picnic. Lauren Breedlove, Travel + Leisure, 17 Apr. 2024 As a child of parents who were born and raised in Trinidad, the island of this musical genre’s birth, its enchanting rhythms have turned my frowns into smiles, strengthened ties with loved ones, and ushered in some of the most joyous family celebrations. Melissa Rose Cooper, Essence, 15 Apr. 2024 Goldberg feigned an unamused smile for the first part of the hug, but came around and put her arms around Haines back to reciprocate the gesture. EW.com, 15 Apr. 2024 In the series of snaps, Anderson, 55, smiles and poses with prosthetic makeup underneath his chin and a product that appears to be an adhesive around his ears. Charmaine Patterson, Peoplemag, 6 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'smile.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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"

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of smile was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near smile

Cite this Entry

“Smile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smile. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

smile

1 of 2 verb
smiled; smiling
1
: to have, produce, or exhibit a smile
2
a
: to look with amusement or ridicule
b
: to be fortunate or agreeable
the weather smiled on our plans
3
: to express by a smile
both parents smiled their approval
smiler noun
smilingly adverb

smile

2 of 2 noun
: a change of facial expression in which the eyes brighten and the corners of the mouth curve slightly upward especially in expression of amusement, pleasure, approval, or sometimes scorn

More from Merriam-Webster on smile

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