See more synonyms for smile on
verb (used without object), smiled, smil·ing.
  1. to assume a facial expression indicating pleasure, favor, or amusement, but sometimes derision or scorn, characterized by an upturning of the corners of the mouth.
  2. to regard with favor: Luck smiled on us that night.
  3. to have a pleasant or agreeable appearance or aspect, as natural scenes, objects, etc.: The landscape smiled in the sunlight.
verb (used with object), smiled, smil·ing.
  1. to assume or give (a smile, especially of a given kind): She smiled a warm and friendly smile.
  2. to express by a smile: to smile approval.
  3. to bring, put, drive, etc., by or as by smiling: to smile one's tears away.
  1. the act or an instance of smiling; a smiling expression of the face.
  2. favor or kindly regard: fortune's smile.
  3. a pleasant or agreeable appearance, look, or aspect.
Verb Phrases
  1. smile at,
    1. to regard with pleasure or amusement, as with a smile.
    2. to regard with mild derision: to smile at someone's affectations.

Origin of smile

1250–1300; Middle English smyllen (v.); cognate with Old High German smīlan, Danish smile
Related formssmile·less, adjectivesmile·less·ly, adverbsmile·less·ness, nounsmil·er, nounsmil·ing·ly, adverbhalf-smil·ing, adjectivehalf-smil·ing·ly, adverbout·smile, verb (used with object), out·smiled, out·smil·ing.sub·smile, nounun·smil·ing, adjectiveun·smil·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for smile

See more synonyms for on
1, 7. See laugh.

Antonyms for smile

1, 7. frown. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unsmiling

Contemporary Examples of unsmiling

Historical Examples of unsmiling

  • What could be hidden, he thought, beneath the mask of that unsmiling face?

    Salted With Fire

    George MacDonald

  • "I'm all ready to tell you about it now," volunteered the unsmiling Issy.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • Mistress Wilding met him with unsmiling, but not ungentle face.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

  • She went to the front door and opened it with an unsmiling face.

    Good Old Anna

    Marie Belloc Lowndes

  • She saw only friendliness and some dark, unsmiling mood in his.

    Wayside Courtships

    Hamlin Garland

British Dictionary definitions for unsmiling


  1. not wearing or assuming a smile; serious


  1. a facial expression characterized by an upturning of the corners of the mouth, usually showing amusement, friendliness, etc, but sometimes scorn, etc
  2. favour or blessingthe smile of fortune
  3. an agreeable appearance
  1. (intr) to wear or assume a smile
  2. (intr foll by at)
    1. to look (at) with a kindly or amused expression
    2. to look derisively (at) instead of being annoyed
    3. to bear (troubles, etc) patiently
  3. (intr; foll by on or upon) to show approval; bestow a blessing
  4. (tr) to express by means of a smileshe smiled a welcome
  5. (tr often foll by away) to drive away or change by smilingsmile away one's tears
  6. come up smiling to recover cheerfully from misfortune
Derived Formssmiler, nounsmiling, adjectivesmilingly, adverbsmilingness, noun

Word Origin for smile

C13: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish smila, Danish smile; related to Middle High German smielen
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 unsmiling

1826, from un- (1) "not" + present participle of smile (v.).



c.1300, perhaps from Middle Low German *smilen or a Scandinavian source (e.g. Danish smile "smile," Swedish smila "smile, smirk, simper, fawn"), from Proto-Germanic *smil-, extended form of PIE root *smei- "to laugh, smile" (cf. Old English smerian "to laugh at, scorn," Old High German smieron "to smile," Latin mirus "wonderful," mirari "to wonder"). Related: Smiled; smiling.

Gradually pushed the usual Old English word, smearcian (modern smirk), into a specific, unpleasant sense. Of the eyes, from 1759. Figuratively, as indicating favor or encouragement, from c.1400. Romance, Celtic, and Slavic languages tend to use a diminutive of the word for "laugh" to mean "smile" (e.g. Latin ridere "laugh;" subridere "smile"), perhaps literally "small laugh" or "low laugh."



1560s, from smile (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with unsmiling


In addition to the idiom beginning with smile

  • smile on

also see:

  • crack a smile
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.