\ 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

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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 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, "Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Filthy, Predatory Finances," 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, "Ufology: From Fringe Field to Serious Science," 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, "Nihilism and White Bliss in America’s Most Livable City," 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,, "They have a chance to clean house in upcoming elections. But many Iraqis are asking: 'Why should I vote?'," 11 May 2018 In fact, Nick, as fans pointed out, smirked the second John announced his pick. Lauren Puckett, Good Housekeeping, "'The Voice' Fans Are Berating Coach John Legend for His "Huge Mistake"," 25 Apr. 2020 At first, there had been a glint in his eye, a smirking irony in his repetition of the government’s hand-washing message. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, "A Recovered Boris Johnson Can Remake Britain Again," 12 Apr. 2020 The bluntly profane patriarch — last seen smirking elusively in the closing shot of the season — has made the 73-year-old character actor into an unlikely social media darling, the subject of myriad GIFs and memes. Los Angeles Times, "Brian Cox knows why ‘Succession’ reminds you of the Trumps: ‘It’s about entitlement’," 17 Oct. 2019 Brady smirked, and then said something unclear—turning football fans around the country into amateur lip-readers. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "When Tom Brady Said Goodbye to New England," 17 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for smirk

Time Traveler

The first known use of smirk was in 1824

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Statistics for smirk

Cite this Entry

“Smirk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for smirk


How to pronounce smirk (audio)

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

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Comments on smirk

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