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v. grinned, grin·ning, grins
To smile broadly, often baring the teeth, as in amusement, glee, embarrassment, or other strong emotion.
To express with a grin: I grinned my approval.
1. The act of grinning.
2. The facial expression produced by grinning.

[Middle English grennen, to grimace, from Old English grennian.]

grin′ner n.
grin′ning·ly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




  1. Face … cut wide open by a beautiful grin … like pumpkins with candles shining out through their strong ivory teeth —Marge Piercy
  2. Grin at each other as if we’d just completed a double steal —W. P. Kinsella

    See Also: BASEBALL

  3. Grinning dreamily, like a man who has just had a final fix —James Crumley
  4. A grin like a flash of dental lightning —Don Marquis
  5. Grin like a German Shepherd —Rick Borsten
  6. Grin like a kid caught smoking behind the barn —W. P. Kinsella
  7. Grin like an apple slice —Julia O’Faolain
  8. Grin like a salesman —Richard Ford
  9. Grin like the moon, just barely there, and like the sun, getting ready to set —Hortense Calisher
  10. Grinned at her like a six-year-old boy caught doing something he must charm his way out of —Niven Busch
  11. Grinned at me very engagingly, like a daddy who has just finished explaining to his little boy how the new electric train works —Harvey Swados
  12. Grinned, filling his cheeks, as if he had food in his mouth —Paul Theroux
  13. Grinned just like a jackass chewing briars —George Garrett
  14. Grinned like a hungry tiger —Harvey Swados
  15. Grinned like a pumpkin —Marge Piercy
  16. Grinned like a shark —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  17. Grinned like a weasel in a chicken coop —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  18. Grinning like a cageful of monkeys —Erich Maria Remarque
  19. Grinning like a Death’s-head —Loren D. Estleman
  20. Grinned like beans —Rita Mae Brown
  21. Grinning like egg-sucking foxes —John D. MacDonald
  22. A grin of recognition spread across Bunty’s face like a burn —Harvey Swados
  23. Grins like a clown with a banjo —R.H.W. Dillard
  24. Grin … wide as a pumpkin’s —Mary Hedin
  25. His grin was like a big wrinkle among the small ones —Robert Campbell
  26. A lop-sided grin, like he had a lemon in his mouth —Joseph C. Lincoln
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
`Please would you tell me,' said Alice, a little timidly, for she was not quite sure whether it was good manners for her to speak first, `why your cat grins like that?'
He come up just as we was sliding to the back door, and grins that sleepy grin.
If a good thought passed through a man's mind, then a grin was seen in the mirror, and the sprite laughed heartily at his clever discovery.
Tommy Brock was a short bristly fat waddling person with a grin; he grinned all over his face.
After half an hour he roused himself to take the drink, and as he felt the liquor pass warmingly through his body, his features relaxed into a slow, deliberate, yet genuine grin. He was laughing at himself.
"Only fancy!" answered Ignat, surprised at the broadening grin on his face in the mirror.
Now, shrieking and gibbering through his frothy lips, his yellow fangs bared in a mad and horrid grin, he rushed full upon Norman of Torn.
"The coldness of the human heart," he said, with a grin, "will keep the creature in his present condition until I can reach home and revive him on the coals."
It always caused him to grin a trifle when he looked at these strange creatures.
A grin of brilliant and perfect comprehension overspread his porringer-like face.
'Look, now, at his teeth, how they grin! This is no man, my brothers, but a wolf.'
It seemed as though his features had frozen into a diabolical grin at the world he had left and outwitted.