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See more synonyms for grin on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), grinned, grin·ning.
  1. to smile broadly, especially as an indication of pleasure, amusement, or the like.
  2. to draw back the lips so as to show the teeth, as a snarling dog or a person in pain.
  3. to show or be exposed through an opening, crevice, etc.
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verb (used with object), grinned, grin·ning.
  1. to express or produce by grinning: The little boy grinned his approval of the gift.
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  1. a broad smile.
  2. the act of producing a broad smile.
  3. the act of withdrawing the lips and showing the teeth, as in anger or pain.
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Origin of grin1

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


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. See laugh.


  1. Chiefly Scot. a snare like a running noose.
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verb (used with object), grinned, grin·ning.
  1. to catch in a nooselike snare.
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Origin of grin2

before 900; Middle English grin(e), Old English grin, gryn
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for grinning

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He thought of the grinning men of the saloon; the hidden words.

  • I seemed face to face with some foolish, grinning masque of horror.

  • "Sing takee walk, Linee, las all," said the grinning Chinaman.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • Then he seated himself not far from the captives, facing them, grinning savagely.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • Morgan was grinning sheepishly, "Here, what do you know about this?"

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

British Dictionary definitions for grinning


verb grins, grinning or grinned
  1. to smile with the lips drawn back revealing the teeth or express (something) by such a smileto grin a welcome
  2. (intr) to draw back the lips revealing the teeth, as in a snarl or grimace
  3. grin and bear it informal to suffer trouble or hardship without complaint
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  1. a broad smile
  2. a snarl or grimace
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Derived Formsgrinner, noungrinning, adjective, noun

Word Origin

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 grinning



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.

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1630s, from grin (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper