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 formssmirk·er, nounsmirk·ing·ly, adverbun·smirk·ing, adjectiveun·smirk·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for smirked

Contemporary Examples of smirked

Historical Examples of smirked

  • He smirked in a self-deprecating way, and pulled his hat-brim down in front.

    Dr. Sevier

    George W. Cable

  • The Irishman held his between his fingers and smirked a little toward the floor.

    Dr. Sevier

    George W. Cable

  • For somewhat too broadly had Bell smirked his sanctity on me.

    Journeys to Bagdad

    Charles S. Brooks

  • Castrillon smirked and put his hand, half instinctively, to his breast-pocket.

    Robert Orange

    John Oliver Hobbes

  • He strutted, posed, and smirked in a way highly offensive to the other men.

    The Huntress

    Hulbert Footner

British Dictionary definitions for smirked



a smile expressing scorn, smugness, etc, rather than pleasure


(intr) to give such a smile
(tr) to express with such a smile
Derived Formssmirker, nounsmirking, adjectivesmirkingly, adverb

Word Origin for smirk

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

Word Origin and History for smirked



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