Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To smile in a silly, self-conscious, often coy manner.
  • intransitive verb To utter or express with a silly, self-conscious, often coy smile.
  • noun A silly, self-conscious, often coy smile.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To smile in an affected, silly manner; smirk.
  • To twinkle; glimmer.
  • Synonyms Simper and Smirk both express smiling; the primary idea of the first is silliness or simplicity; that of the second is affectation or conceit. The simplicity in simpering may be affected; the affectation in smirking may be of softness or of kindness.
  • noun An affected, conscious smile; a smirk.
  • An obsolete or dialectal variant of simmer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A constrained, self-conscious smile; an affected, silly smile; a smirk.
  • intransitive verb To smile in a silly, affected, or conceited manner.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To glimmer; to twinkle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To smile in a foolish, frivolous, self-conscious, coy, or smug manner.
  • noun A foolish, frivolous, self-conscious, or affected smile; a smirk.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a silly self-conscious smile
  • verb smile affectedly or derisively

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Perhaps of Scandinavian origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain; compare (probably from) Danish simper / semper ("coy"), German zimper ("elegant, dainty").

Examples

  • In the morning, before I got up, Strap came into my chamber, and, finding me awake, hemmed several times, scratched his head, cast his eyes upon the ground, and, with a very foolish kind of simper upon his face gave me to understand he had something to communicate.

    The Adventures of Roderick Random

  • There is nothing, for the conversation has been as lead, but the smile does not subside; it only passes through the endless variations that succeed each other from the inane grin to the affected simper which is meant to be tender.

    Greifenstein

  • In the morning, before I got up, Strap came into my chamber, and, finding me awake, hemmed several times, scratched his head, cast his eyes upon the ground, and, with a very foolish kind of simper upon his face gave me to understand he had something to communicate.

    The Adventures of Roderick Random

  • But I, and most right-thinking people, don't need the enjoyment of our lives intruded on by your constant, hectoring simper.

    Archive 2009-02-01

  • Is this what women are doing when they simper over bad boys – turning the female talent for self-loathing into an everyday hell for the women who actually end up dealing with them?

    Idolising bad boys makes Charlies of us all | Barbara Ellen

  • Still, Pan Am and even the Playboy Club look like feminist manifestos in comparison with the new Charlie's Angels remake, which pulls off the improbable trick of apparently requiring its cast to wear less and simper more than they did the first time round.

    The Playboy Club: men only

  • On the other, she has a tendency to simper that can be a little grating.

    23 « November « 2009 « The Manga Curmudgeon

  • But I, and most right-thinking people, don't need the enjoyment of our lives intruded on by your constant, hectoring simper.

    A Note to the Nanny State

  • On the other, she has a tendency to simper that can be a little grating.

    November « 2009 « Precocious Curmudgeon

  • Christine O'Donnell and witchcraft, the brain-crushing demagoguery in August about the proposed mosque in Manhattan? it needs someone like Stewart or Colbert to step in and introduce perspective, and to expose what's happening for the nuttiness it is, while Democrats simper in the corner in fear of Fox News.

    Jon Stewart still calls out to sensible America. Fox won't

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