From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishsmilesmile1 /smaɪl/ ●●● S3 W1 verb 1 [intransitive]SMILE to make your mouth curve upwards, in order to be friendly or because you are happy or amusedsmile at Susan smiled at him and waved. She had to smile at his enthusiasm (=she was amused by it). her smiling facesmile about I haven’t had much to smile about lately.smile to yourself Mark read the message and smiled to himself.GrammarYou smile at someone: They all smiled at me. ✗Don’t say: They all smiled to me.2 [transitive]SAY/STATE to say or express something with a smile ‘It’s good to have you back, ’ she smiled.3 → fortune/the gods etc smile on somebodyTHESAURUSsmile to make your mouth curve upwards, in order to be friendly or because you are happy or amusedShe smiled when she read his email.‘I’m delighted to meet you, ' George said, smiling at the girl.grin to give a big smileThe two boys were grinning at each other.The coach was grinning from ear to ear (=was grinning a lot) when the team scored.beam to give a big happy smile for a long time, because you are very pleased or proudShe beamed with pride as her son collected the award.The wedding couple were outside beaming at the camera.smirk to smile in an unpleasant way, for example because you are pleased about someone else’s bad luck or because you know something that someone else does not knowThe children smirked when the teacher dropped all the books on the floor.What are you smirking about?simper disapproving written to smile in a silly and annoying waya group of simpering schoolgirlsI hated the way she simpered every time a man spoke to her. COLLOCATIONSadverbssmile broadly (=very happily, with a wide smile)He sat there smiling broadly.smile warmly (=in a friendly way)The man looked at Kim and smiled warmly.smile faintly/slightly (=a little)I saw her smile faintly at the memory.smile politelyI shook his hand and smiled politely.smile sweetly (=in a friendly way, sometimes not sincerely)I smiled sweetly and walked away.smile ruefully written (=in a slightly sad way)‘I’m sorry, ’ she said, and smiled ruefully. smile wryly written (=when a situation is bad but also amusing)Carew looked at the mess and smiled wryly to himself.smile thinly written (=a little, not in a happy or friendly way)She smiled thinly. He would be sorry one day.smile weakly written (=without energy or confidence)‘It’s OK, ’ she said, and smiled weakly.smile grimly written (=when pleased or amused in an unpleasant situation)The guard smiled grimly.verbssmile to yourselfMaggie looked at the photo and smiled to herself.make somebody smileHis comment made her smile. → See Verb table
Examples from the Corpussmile• He walked beside her and she knew he was still smiling.• "I knew you'd come, " she smiled.• My father rarely smiled.• She smiled and said, "Good morning.''• Kathy couldn't help smiling as the children came back into the room.• The twins turned and smiled at each other, sharing a private joke.• He winked, and she smiled back at him.• They had stopped smiling because it wasn't necessary to pretend any more.• She smiled broadly when her name was called.• a roomful of smiling children• We smiled feebly and refrained from attempting any further communication with these introspective folk.• He can make people smile just by walking into a room.• He smiled nervously looking around the room, moving restlessly in his seat.• So Hamilton vowed to keep smiling, no matter what.• 'Stop worrying, you look very nice, ' she smiled reassuringly.• He smiled with cool amusement, his lower lip pushed out.• She smiled, with her tired light brown eyes and then with her whole face.smile to yourself• I settled back into the pouch-seat, smiling to myself.• That admission made her smile to herself.• Unlaced, unzipped, unpinned, unclipped, unrolled, unsaid, undone, she thought, and smiled to herself.• I bet Barrow was choked, he smiled to himself as he emptied stale tea leaves from the pot into the sink.• Creed had smiled to himself as he had slid the Xerox copies back into the envelope.• Warner smiled to himself as he jotted down a few notes.• He smiled to himself as he sensed Suzy soften at the excuse.• Corbett watched them go and smiled to himself at what he had learnt.smilesmile2 ●●● S2 W2 noun [countable] SMILEan expression in which your mouth curves upwards, when you are being friendly or are happy or amused He had a big smile on his face.with a smile ‘Oh, I’m fine, ’ Anna replied with a smile. → wipe the smile/grin off somebody’s face at wipe1(7)COLLOCATIONSverbsgive (somebody) a smileThe boy gave a friendly smile.flash (somebody) a smile (=give a quick smile)She flashed him a smile.have a smile on your face/lipsThey all had broad smiles on their faces.be all smiles (=be happy or friendly and smile a lot)One moment he’s all smiles, the next moment he shouts at me.force/manage a smile (=smile when you do not really feel happy or friendly)She forced a smile, but he could see disappointment in her face.wear a smile (=have a smile on your face)She wore a self-confident smile.return somebody’s smile (=smile back at someone)I smiled at him, but he didn’t return my smile.somebody breaks into a smile/somebody’s face breaks into a smile (=they suddenly smile)Anna’s face broke into a smile at the prospect of a guest.a smile spreads across somebody’s face (=they smile)A faint smile spread across her face.somebody’s smile broadens (=it gets bigger)His smile broadened when Sarah walked in.somebody’s smile fades/vanishes (=they stop smiling)Her smile faded and a shaft of panic shot through her.adjectivesa big/broad/wide smile (=when you are very happy)She had a big smile on her face.a warm/friendly smilePeter Leary welcomed Rachel with a warm smile.a little/faint/slight smileShe gave him an apologetic little smile.a quick smileShe gave him a quick smile.a slow smileA slow smile spread across his face.a dazzling smile (=a big smile which shows someone’s white teeth)When he came back she gave him her most dazzling smile.a beaming/radiant smile (=when you are very happy)‘I’m so pleased, ’ she told him with a beaming smile.a bright smile written (=when you look very happy, but you may not feel happy)She forced a bright smile.a tight smile written (=when you are not really happy or friendly)As he stepped past Carson he gave a quick, tight smile of acknowledgement.a wry smile written (=when a situation is bad but also amusing)Guy’s mouth twisted into a wry smile.a rueful smile written (=when you feel slightly sad)‘I’ve been pretty stupid, haven’t I?’ Harry said with a rueful smile.a knowing smile (=when you know something secret)She wanted to smack him for his knowing smile.
Examples from the Corpussmile• The captain came in from the wing of the bridge with a hint of a smile on his usually rather stern face.• "How's it going?" Maya asked with a smile.• She's really happy for me; she has a big smile on her face.• Johnny's broad smile changed slowly to a frown.• After a while, Corbett nodded, handed over a few coins and left, his face wreathed in a complacent smile.• He fell asleep with a contented smile on his face.• Her smile had been faintly wicked, as though she had been wondering what might be his reaction.• She clapped her hands and broke into one of her huge smiles.• The face was ugly but the inquiring smile kind.• Helga has a lovely smile.• 'Hi, ' said Sophie, with the most radiant smile I have ever seen.• The sick smile that Odilo sported throughout his wedding day seems, in retrospect, all too appropriate.• Barry gave the old lady a warm smile.• Such a wicked, wicked smile.• Juan had a wide smile on his face.with a smile• My offer was accepted with a smile.• He passed away with a smile on his face.• Anthea moved to a mirror and smoothed her closely permed black hair before stepping forward with a smile on her lips.• She looked at me with a smile that implied fusion.• But everybody was in a good mood that morning, and his apologies were returned with a smile.• Was it enough to vote for liberal Democrats and pay their taxes with a smile?• Fortunately, the landlord hadn't seen our arrival and he served us with a smile and an offer of menus.• She peered in through his window with a smile and a nervous tic that made her appear to be pleading.Origin smile1 (1200-1300) Probably from a Scandinavian language