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To smirk

2 replies

upinaballoon · 09/11/2022 18:04

I am thinking that there is a difference between the way in which American English and UK English uses the word 'smirk'.
I think that in UK English the word 'smirk' can carry with it a hint of mockery or even unkindness, whereas I have read it used in American English without detecting any unkindness at all, just a small smile, a gentle easing of the mouth muscles.
Does anyone have any comments/thoughts?

OP posts:
LetUsPonce · 09/11/2022 18:14

I don't know about AE but I do feel it has a negative connotation in BE. I associate it with smiling in self-satisfaction or smiling at someone's misfortune. So yes, it has an element of unkindness to me, if not of nastiness.

NoNameNowAgain · 12/11/2022 22:11

I hadn’t noticed that about American English, or heard anyone else comment on it. I tried googling it and came up with this:
which includes the sentence:
”And Democrats who have been audibly snickering about Bush's intelligence would be well advised immediately to wipe the smirks off their faces.”

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