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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grinner

Historical Examples of grinner

  • Omega named it The Grinner, because of its habitual and ghastly smile.

    Omega, the Man

    Lowell Howard Morrow

  • The Grinner sleeping in the sand was the only form of life to be seen, and at last he became weary of the hunt.

    Omega, the Man

    Lowell Howard Morrow

British Dictionary definitions for grinner


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 grinner



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