verb (used without object), grinned, grin·ning.

to smile broadly, especially as an indication of pleasure, amusement, or the like.
to draw back the lips so as to show the teeth, as a snarling dog or a person in pain.
to show or be exposed through an opening, crevice, etc.

verb (used with object), grinned, grin·ning.

to express or produce by grinning: The little boy grinned his approval of the gift.


Origin of grin

before 1000; Middle English grinnen, grennen, Old English grennian; cognate with Old High German grennan to mutter
Related formsgrin·ner, noungrin·ning·ly, adverb

Synonyms for grin

1. See laugh.




Chiefly Scot. a snare like a running noose.

verb (used with object), grinned, grin·ning.

to catch in a nooselike snare.

Origin of grin

before 900; Middle English grin(e), Old English grin, gryn Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for grinned

smirk, beam, simper, crack

Examples from the Web for grinned

Contemporary Examples of grinned

Historical Examples of grinned

  • Andy turned in the saddle and grinned back at the followers.

  • "You're all wrong, chief," said Larry la Roche, and he grinned at Andrew.

  • Rosenfeld eyed him suspiciously, but, possessing a sense of humor also, he grinned.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • "It looks like you was up against it, all right," grinned Shorty.

  • "You'll have to cut down your victim before I get there," grinned Chip.

British Dictionary definitions for grinned


verb grins, grinning or grinned

to smile with the lips drawn back revealing the teeth or express (something) by such a smileto grin a welcome
(intr) to draw back the lips revealing the teeth, as in a snarl or grimace
grin and bear it informal to suffer trouble or hardship without complaint


a broad smile
a snarl or grimace
Derived Formsgrinner, noungrinning, adjective, noun

Word Origin for grin

Old English grennian; related to Old High German grennen to snarl, Old Norse grenja to howl; see grunt
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

Word Origin and History for grinned



Old English grennian "show the teeth" (in pain or anger), common Germanic (cf. Old Norse grenja "to howl," grina "to grin;" Dutch grienen "to whine;" German greinen "to cry"), from PIE root *ghrei- "be open." Sense of "bare the teeth in a broad smile" is late 15c., perhaps via the notion of "forced or unnatural smile." Related: Grinned; grinning.



1630s, from grin (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper