To Smirk or Not to Smirk

What does the word “smirk” convey to you? If a character in a book smirks at something said by another character how do you feel about the smirker?

Am I wrong to feel that “smirk” has a negative connotation? And what would be a more pleasant word to use when one character is mildly put off or even amused by another character’s words?

I need help here, because I don’t want to use the word “smirk,” yet all of its synonyms are even more off putting: simper, snigger, leer. Ugh!

How about a smirking smurf?

Surely “said” is a better choice. Right?

Peace, people.

Author: nananoyz

I'm a semi-retired crazy person with one husband and two cats.

28 thoughts on “To Smirk or Not to Smirk”

      1. True. You could go with a description of what the face looked like….her eyes lifted in amusement as her mouth quivered infinitesimally (but you know better than what I just threw down)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I recently read a book in which the author used the word “husked” rather than “said” when the male protagonist was getting romantic. I could not get past that awful word choice. “You’re beautiful,” Martin husked.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s not a good choice for a romantic scene. The thing about said is, you need it for the boring stuff. When it’s a scene that’s important to the story you can’t say said…you have to distinguish that scene from the others

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I have seen it used in both a negative, sneerey/mocking sort of way and as in a playful/fun/goofy way (though those times often have a context associated with it like “a playful smirk”). I think you can use it either way as long as you give enough context to make it clear which one you are shooting for.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Her lips pressed together to surpress the tentative grin of amusement which might have been perceived as a smirk… (Honestly I think I am occasionally on the side of the smirker because it sometimes shows a keen sense of humor and superior intelect.)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Does your character feel superior? Then he or she can’t help smirking. If not, maybe your character was simply amused. Maybe a smirk is more in the eye of the beholder, insecurity of the beholder. It’s ok for your characters to have behaviors or traits you don’t like.

        Liked by 1 person

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