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[smurk] /smɜrk/
verb (used without object)
to smile in an affected, smug, or offensively familiar way.
the facial expression of a person who smirks.
Origin of smirk
before 900; Middle English smirken (v.), Old English sme(a)rcian
Related forms
smirker, noun
smirkingly, adverb
unsmirking, adjective
unsmirkingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for smirk
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "I reckon Sim made the short on it," said Reuben with a smirk.

  • She felled him in the middle of a smirk, and seized the opportunity created.

    The Martian Cabal Roman Frederick Starzl
  • Dolores turned around with a smirk of biting ridicule on her face.

    Mayflower (Flor de mayo) Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • There was a smirk of pharisaical satisfaction on their faces.

    My New Curate P.A. Sheehan
  • Fortunately the bride, all smirk and blush, had just entered the room.

    Waverley Sir Walter Scott
British Dictionary definitions for smirk


a smile expressing scorn, smugness, etc, rather than pleasure
(intransitive) to give such a smile
(transitive) to express with such a smile
Derived Forms
smirker, noun
smirking, adjective
smirkingly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English smearcian; related to smer derision, Old High German bismer contempt, bismerōn to scorn
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 smirk

Old English smearcian "to smile." No exact cognates in other languages, but probably related to smerian "to laugh at, scorn," from Proto-Germanic *smer-, *smar-, variant of PIE *smei- "to smile;" see smile (v.), which after c.1500 gradually restricted smirk to the unpleasant sense "smile affectedly; grin in a malicious or smug way." In some 18c. glossaries smirk is still simply "to smile." Related: Smirked; smirking. The noun is recorded by 1560s.


1550s, from smirk (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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