\ ˈsmərk How to pronounce smirk (audio) \
smirked; smirking; smirks

Definition of smirk

1 intransitive : to smile in a smug or condescending way "I seem to have touched a nerve," said Malfoy, smirking.— J. K. Rowling Cluny lay back and smirked. Everything was going according to plan.— Brian Jacques Some Americans from "old" families likewise smirked behind their napkins at the arriviste's fancy new silver-plate fish set …— Douglas Brenner … they're smirking about the very idea of political seriousness.— Kurt Andersen
2 transitive : to say or express (something) with a smirk "No problem," he smirked when I apologized for my wimpiness.— Michael Behar

Other Words from smirk

smirk noun, plural smirks
A former prosecutor, she deploys an interrogation style that is impatient and knowing, almost amused. The eyebrows go up, a faint smirk plays around the lips: you might as well fess up. — Dana Goodyear And while circulation is certainly declining, nearly 50 million people in the U.S. still buy a daily newspaper. So wipe that smirk off your face, Web triumphalists. — Jennifer Saba As Frank Cross, the arrogant and abusive television network programming exec in this uproarious update of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, [Bill] Murray offers viewers everything they like about him—sarcastic smirks, disgusted eye-rolls. — Doug Brod

Examples of smirk in a Sentence

She tried not to smirk when they announced the winner.
Recent Examples on the Web Whereas Koepka seems to smirk at the innate silliness of the rivalry, DeChambeau seems to take it seriously. John Guaspari, National Review, 26 Sep. 2021 With those small, platinum-blonde strands in the front and that slight smirk on her face, Hough almost looks like her twin. Allure, 1 July 2021 Her skin was a cocoa shade, and her luscious, dark curls framed the light smirk on her face. Hayley Folk,, 20 June 2021 Quite a contrast with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), Jim's fellow secret agent, a walking smirk whose leather jacket shines brighter than his hair gel. Darren Franich,, 21 May 2021 So, yes, by all means chortle and smirk online at the consensual private trespasses of Jerry Falwell Jr., yet another great Protestant hypocrite laid low. Chris Lehmann, The New Republic, 25 Aug. 2020 While some still smirk at the thought of anomalous aerial objects occupying our skies, the information slowly coming out into the public domain is starting to prove that these objects may not be a laughing matter. Mj Banias, Popular Mechanics, 2 July 2020 On the other side of Lemieux are two defenders skating the complete opposite way, colliding, dumbfounded by this marvel of a human being who skates past with a Looney Tunes smirk on his face. Casey Taylor, The New Republic, 5 June 2020 Candidates can be seen gazing, grimacing or smirking on campaign posters and banners plastered across what seems like every available light post, railing and overpass. Nabih Bulos,, 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'smirk.' 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 smirk

1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for smirk

Middle English, from Old English smearcian to smile; akin to Old English smerian to laugh

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Cite this Entry

“Smirk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for smirk



English Language Learners Definition of smirk

: to smile in an unpleasant way because you are pleased with yourself, glad about someone else's trouble, etc.


\ ˈsmərk How to pronounce smirk (audio) \
smirked; smirking

Kids Definition of smirk

: to smile in an insincere manner

Other Words from smirk

smirk noun

More from Merriam-Webster on smirk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smirk

Nglish: Translation of smirk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smirk for Arabic Speakers


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