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[sim-per] /ˈsɪm pər/
verb (used without object)
to smile in a silly, self-conscious way.
verb (used with object)
to say with a simper.
a silly, self-conscious smile.
Origin of simper
1555-65; akin to Middle Dutch zimperlijc, dialectal Danish simper affected, Danish sippe affected woman, orig. one who sips (see sip), a way of drinking thought to be affected
Related forms
simperer, noun
simperingly, adverb
unsimpering, adjective
1, 3. smirk, snigger, snicker. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for simpered
Historical Examples
  • She hesitated a moment; then she simpered the least bit and bridled.

  • Jupillon smiled internally, and simpered and sneered externally.

    Germinie Lacerteux Edmond and Jules de Goncourt
  • Mrs Broadbent simpered a little and put her head on one side.

  • "You know they say a cat may look at a king," Miss Kitty simpered.

    The Tale of Miss Kitty Cat Arthur Scott Bailey
  • But to stand by all day and be simpered to, and even cringed to, was galling in the extreme.

    My Friend Smith Talbot Baines Reed
  • Mrs. Tretherick simpered, but did not dislodge Carry as before.

  • The crowd howled, Suzanne simpered, and Gaspard turned as pink as clover.

    The Crossing Winston Churchill
  • Kitty simpered and smiled, and hoped her turn was coming soon.

    Pride and Prejudice

    Jane Austen
  • He simpered and tried to turn semi-savage, and was simply ridiculous.

    Summer Cruising in the South Seas Charles Warren Stoddard
  • "He did make an impression on you, Miss Sawyer," simpered Mrs. Darling.

    The Morning Glory Club George A. Kyle
British Dictionary definitions for simpered


(intransitive) to smile coyly, affectedly, or in a silly self-conscious way
(transitive) to utter (something) in a simpering manner
a simpering smile; smirk
Derived Forms
simperer, noun
simpering, adjective, noun
simperingly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: probably from Dutch simper affected
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for simpered



1560s, "to smile in an affected and silly way," perhaps from a Scandinavian source (e.g. dialectal Danish semper "affected, coy, prudish") or Middle Dutch zimperlijk "affected, coy, prim," of unknown origin. Related: Simpered; simpering. As a noun, 1590s, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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