- smile (v.)
- c.1300, perhaps from Middle Low German *smilen or a Scandinavian source (e.g. Danish smile, Swedish smila "smile"), from PIE root *smei- (cf. Old English smerian "to laugh at," Old High German smieron "to smile," Latin mirus "wonderful").
Gradually pushed the usual Old English word, smearcian (modern smirk), into a specific, unpleasant sense. Related: Smiled; smiling. 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"), with perhaps a literal notion of "small laugh," or "low laugh."
- smile (n.)
- 1560s, from smile (v.).