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

  • intransitive v. To smile in an affected, often offensively self-satisfied manner.
  • n. An affected, often offensively self-satisfied smile.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An uneven, often crooked smile that is insolent, offensively self-satisfied or scornful.
  • v. To smile in a way that is affected, smug, insolent or contemptuous.
  • adj. smart; spruce; affected; simpering

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Nice,; smart; spruce; affected; simpering.
  • n. A forced or affected smile; a simper.
  • intransitive v. To smile in an affected or conceited manner; to smile with affected complaisance; to simper.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To smile affectedly or wantonly; look affectedly soft or kind.
  • Synonyms Simper, Smirk. See simper.
  • Smart; spruce.
  • n. An affected smile; a soft look.

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

  • v. smile affectedly or derisively
  • n. a smile expressing smugness or scorn instead of pleasure


Middle English smirken, from Old English smercian, to smile; see smei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Cf. Middle High German smielen/smieren ("to smile") ( > obsolete, rare German schmieren). (Wiktionary)



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  • An exponent of the compliant smirk
    welcomed me, carried my case for pence.

    - Peter Reading, Placed by the Gideons, from Nothing for Anyone, 1977

    June 26, 2008