27 Idioms for Smile: Expressions of Joy and Happiness


They are phrases or expressions whose meanings are not always clear when interpreted literally. In this listicle, we explore idioms related to smiles, those delightful facial expressions that convey joy and happiness.

So, if you’ve ever wondered how to describe a smile beyond the simple “smile,” read on to discover these delightful idioms.

idioms for smile

What is an idiom for a smile?

Idioms for smiles are expressions that use “smile” or related words to describe the act of smiling or the emotions behind it.

These idiomatic phrases offer a unique and often vivid way to convey happiness, amusement, or contentment. Let’s explore a list of idioms for smile, along with their meanings and examples.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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What is a simile?

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Identify the simile in the following sentence: “She swims like a fish.”

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What is a metaphor?

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Which of the following is a metaphor?

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What is an idiom?

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What does the idiom “break the ice” mean?

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“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

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The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

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IdiomMeaningExample Sentence
Grin from Ear to EarTo smile widely, showing great happiness or amusement.When she heard the surprise news, she grinned from ear to ear.
Beam with JoyTo express extreme happiness through a radiant and cheerful smile.As she received the award, she beamed with joy.
Break into a SmileTo suddenly start smiling, often in response to something pleasant.When he saw the adorable puppy, he broke into a smile.
Wear a SmileTo have a smile on one’s face, indicating a cheerful disposition.Despite the rainy weather, she wore a smile throughout the picnic.
Crack a SmileTo smile briefly or slightly, especially when trying not to.He couldn’t help but crack a smile at the comedian’s jokes.
Flash a SmileTo smile briefly and quickly, often as a friendly gesture.She flashed a smile at her neighbor as she walked by.
Put on a Happy FaceTo make an effort to appear cheerful or positive, even when not feeling that way.Despite the challenging situation, he always tries to put on a happy face.
Show Pearly WhitesTo smile broadly, displaying one’s white teeth.Her dazzling smile showed off her pearly whites.
Burst into LaughterTo start laughing suddenly and uncontrollably, often accompanied by a smile.The hilarious joke made everyone burst into laughter.
Smiling from Ear to EarTo be in an extremely joyful or delighted state, often with a big smile.After winning the game, he was smiling from ear to ear.
Have a Smile on One’s FaceTo consistently display a smile, indicating a generally positive demeanor.She always has a smile on her face, brightening everyone’s day.
Smile like a Cheshire CatTo smile in an extremely wide and often mysterious manner.He grinned like a Cheshire cat when he received the surprise gift.
Smile a Mile WideTo smile very broadly, indicating immense happiness or satisfaction.After the successful performance, her smile was a mile wide.
Have a Smile that Could Light Up a RoomTo possess an exceptionally radiant and cheerful smile.Her friendliness and warm smile could light up a room.
Smiling like a Kid in a Candy StoreTo smile with pure excitement or delight, like a child presented with a vast selection of candies.Seeing the amusement park, the kids were smiling like kids in a candy store.
Smile as Bright as the SunTo have an exceptionally radiant and joyful smile.On their wedding day, her smile was as bright as the sun.
Wear a Smile like a Badge of HonorTo display a proud and confident smile, often after achieving something significant.After completing the marathon, he wore a smile like a badge of honor.
Smile through Gritted TeethTo smile in a forced or insincere manner, hiding one’s true feelings.Despite the criticism, she managed to smile through gritted teeth.
Smile and NodTo respond to a situation by smiling and nodding, often when one doesn’t fully understand or agree.During the complex discussion, he chose to smile and nod to avoid any conflict.
Grin like a Possum Eating Sweet TatersTo smile broadly and with great delight, similar to the expression of a possum enjoying sweet potatoes.When he saw the surprise party, he grinned like a possum eating sweet taters.
Flash a Toothy GrinTo smile widely, displaying one’s teeth prominently.She flashed a toothy grin when she saw her childhood friend.
Break into a Big GrinTo start smiling widely, often in response to something enjoyable or funny.His little sister’s antics made him break into a big grin.
Smile like a Jack-o’-LanternTo smile with a wide and often eerie grin, similar to a carved pumpkin’s face.At the Halloween party, he smiled like a jack-o’-lantern.
Have a Grin that Won’t QuitTo have an enduring and continuous smile, typically out of happiness or contentment.After the heartwarming surprise, she had a grin that wouldn’t quit.
Smile like a ClownTo smile in an exaggerated and theatrical manner, like a clown entertaining an audience.Despite the nervousness, she managed to smile like a clown during her performance.
Sport a SmileTo display a cheerful smile, often used when someone consistently looks happy.He always sports a smile, making everyone feel welcome.
Put a Smile on One’s FaceTo make someone feel happy or cheerful, often used in the context of bringing joy to others.Her thoughtful gesture put a smile on his face.

Metaphors can describe a smile in various ways, like comparing it to a ray of sunshine that brightens the darkest of days. To explore more metaphors for a smile, you can visit this link: Metaphors for Smile. Similarly, similes offer comparisons that make a smile more relatable, such as saying it’s as warm as a hug from a loved one. Discover additional similes for a smile here: Similes for Smile.

Idioms for Smile

1. Grin from Ear to Ear

Meaning: To smile widely, showing great happiness or amusement.

In a Sentence: When she heard the surprise news, she grinned from ear to ear.

2. Beam with Joy

Meaning: To express extreme happiness through a radiant and cheerful smile.

In a Sentence: As she received the award, she beamed with joy.

3. Break into a Smile

Meaning: To suddenly start smiling, often in response to something pleasant.

In a Sentence: When he saw the adorable puppy, he broke into a smile.

4. Wear a Smile

Meaning: To have a smile on one’s face, indicating a cheerful disposition.

In a Sentence: Despite the rainy weather, she wore a smile throughout the picnic.

5. Crack a Smile

Meaning: To smile briefly or slightly, especially when trying not to.

In a Sentence: He couldn’t help but crack a smile at the comedian’s jokes.

6. Flash a Smile

Meaning: To smile briefly and quickly, often as a friendly gesture.

In a Sentence: She flashed a smile at her neighbor as she walked by.

7. Put on a Happy Face

Meaning: To make an effort to appear cheerful or positive, even when not feeling that way.

In a Sentence: Despite the challenging situation, he always tries to put on a happy face.

8. Show Pearly Whites

Meaning: To smile broadly, displaying one’s white teeth.

In a Sentence: Her dazzling smile showed off her pearly whites.

9. Burst into Laughter

Meaning: To start laughing suddenly and uncontrollably, often accompanied by a smile.

In a Sentence: The hilarious joke made everyone burst into laughter.

10. Smiling from Ear to Ear

Meaning: To be in an extremely joyful or delighted state, often with a big smile.

In a Sentence: After winning the game, he was smiling from ear to ear.

11. Have a Smile on One’s Face

Meaning: To consistently display a smile, indicating a generally positive demeanor.

In a Sentence: She always has a smile on her face, brightening everyone’s day.

12. Smile like a Cheshire Cat

Meaning: To smile in an extremely wide and often mysterious manner.

In a Sentence: He grinned like a Cheshire cat when he received the surprise gift.

13. Smile a Mile Wide

Meaning: To smile very broadly, indicating immense happiness or satisfaction.

In a Sentence: After the successful performance, her smile was a mile wide.

14. Have a Smile that Could Light Up a Room

Meaning: To possess an exceptionally radiant and cheerful smile.

In a Sentence: Her friendliness and warm smile could light up a room.

15. Smiling like a Kid in a Candy Store

Meaning: To smile with pure excitement or delight, like a child presented with a vast selection of candies.

In a Sentence: Seeing the amusement park, the kids were smiling like kids in a candy store.

16. Smile as Bright as the Sun

Meaning: To have an exceptionally radiant and joyful smile.

In a Sentence: On their wedding day, her smile was as bright as the sun.

17. Wear a Smile like a Badge of Honor

Meaning: To display a proud and confident smile, often after achieving something significant.

In a Sentence: After completing the marathon, he wore a smile like a badge of honor.

18. Smile through Gritted Teeth

Meaning: To smile in a forced or insincere manner, hiding one’s true feelings.

In a Sentence: Despite the criticism, she managed to smile through gritted teeth.

19. Smile and Nod

Meaning: To respond to a situation by smiling and nodding, often when one doesn’t fully understand or agree.

In a Sentence: During the complex discussion, he chose to smile and nod to avoid any conflict.

20. Grin like a Possum Eating Sweet Taters

Meaning: To smile broadly and with great delight, similar to the expression of a possum enjoying sweet potatoes.

In a Sentence: When he saw the surprise party, he grinned like a possum eating sweet taters.

21. Flash a Toothy Grin

Meaning: To smile widely, displaying one’s teeth prominently.

In a Sentence: She flashed a toothy grin when she saw her childhood friend.

22. Break into a Big Grin

Meaning: To start smiling widely, often in response to something enjoyable or funny.

In a Sentence: His little sister’s antics made him break into a big grin.

23. Smile like a Jack-o’-Lantern

Meaning: To smile with a wide and often eerie grin, similar to a carved pumpkin’s face.

In a Sentence: At the Halloween party, he smiled like a jack-o’-lantern.

24. Have a Grin that Won’t Quit

Meaning: To have an enduring and continuous smile, typically out of happiness or contentment.

In a Sentence: After the heartwarming surprise, she had a grin that wouldn’t quit.

25. Smile like a Clown

Meaning: To smile in an exaggerated and theatrical manner, like a clown entertaining an audience.

In a Sentence: Despite the nervousness, she managed to smile like a clown during her performance.

26. Sport a Smile

Meaning: To display a cheerful smile, often used when someone consistently looks happy.

In a Sentence: He always sports a smile, making everyone feel welcome.

27. Put a Smile on One’s Face

Meaning: To make someone feel happy or cheerful, often used in the context of bringing joy to others.

In a Sentence: Her thoughtful gesture put a smile on his face.

Quizzes About The Idioms in The Article

Quiz 1: Smile Idioms – What’s the Meaning?

Question 1: What does the idiom “Grin from Ear to Ear” mean?

  • A) To smile briefly.
  • B) To smile widely, showing great happiness.
  • C) To fake a smile.

Answer: B) To smile widely, showing great happiness.


Quiz 2: Smile Idioms – Fill in the Blank

Question 2: If someone says, “Despite the bad news, she managed to break into a ___________,” how would you complete the sentence?

Answer: Smile


Quiz 3: Smile Idioms – True or False

Question 3: “Flash a Smile” means to smile with a wide and often eerie grin. (True/False)

Answer: False


Quiz 4: Smile Idioms – Completing the Sentence

Question 4: When someone “Wears a Smile,” it means they have a smile on their face, indicating a ___________.

Answer: Cheerful disposition


Quiz 5: Smile Idioms – Match the Meaning

Question 5: Match the idiom to its meaning:
Idiom: “Smiling like a Kid in a Candy Store”
Meaning: To smile with pure excitement or delight, like a child presented with a vast selection of candies.

Answer: Matching Meaning – “Smiling like a Kid in a Candy Store”


Quiz 6: Smile Idioms – What’s the Opposite?

Question 6: What’s the opposite of “Smile through Gritted Teeth”?

  • A) To genuinely smile.
  • B) To smile broadly.
  • C) To smile insincerely, hiding true feelings.

Answer: A) To genuinely smile.


Quiz 7: Smile Idioms – True or False

Question 7: “Burst into Laughter” means to start crying suddenly. (True/False)

Answer: False


Quiz 8: Smile Idioms – Finish the Sentence

Question 8: “Have a Smile that Could Light Up a Room” means to possess an exceptionally radiant and cheerful smile that can brighten ___________.

Answer: Everyone’s day


Quiz 9: Smile Idioms – What’s the Meaning?

Question 9: What does the idiom “Sport a Smile” mean?

  • A) To display a cheerful smile.
  • B) To hide a smile.
  • C) To smile briefly.

Answer: A) To display a cheerful smile.


Quiz 10: Smile Idioms – Completing the Sentence

Question 10: When someone “Puts a Smile on One’s Face,” it means they make someone feel ___________.

Answer: Happy or cheerful.

Conclusion

These idioms for smile offer a delightful way to describe the act of smiling and the emotions it conveys. They allow us to express joy, amusement, and happiness in creative and vivid ways.

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