Ask Difference

Laugh vs. Smile — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on September 30, 2023
A "Laugh" is a vocal expression of amusement or joy, often loud. A "Smile" is a silent facial expression, signifying pleasure, favor, or amusement by an upward turning of the corners of the mouth.
Laugh vs. Smile — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Laugh and Smile

ADVERTISEMENT

Key Differences

"Laugh" and "Smile" both indicate positive emotions or reactions, but they manifest in distinct ways. When someone laughs, it involves a vocal and often audible expression of joy, amusement, or even nervousness. Laughter can range from a subtle chuckle to a hearty guffaw, but it's primarily an audible sign of mirth or another emotion. Laughs can be spontaneous or sometimes even forced, depending on the context.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023
In contrast, a "Smile" remains a silent facial gesture, characterized by the upward curving of the mouth's corners. Smiles can be brief or lingering and denote a variety of sentiments, from joy and pleasure to politeness and understanding. While laughs are usually spontaneous reactions to something funny or surprising, smiles can be both spontaneous and deliberate, often used in social contexts as a form of non-verbal communication.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023
It's interesting to note that while both actions - laughing and smiling - denote positivity, they can sometimes be used in sarcasm or irony. For instance, a laugh can occasionally be mocking, and a smile can sometimes be insincere or even malevolent.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023
Moreover, cultural nuances play a role in how these expressions are perceived. In certain cultures, laughing out loud in public, especially for women, might be frowned upon, while in others, a smile might be a customary gesture when greeting a stranger. Both laughing and smiling are universal human reactions, but their appropriateness can vary based on cultural or situational contexts.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Comparison Chart

Nature

Audible expression
Silent facial expression
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Indication

Amusement, joy, or nervousness
Pleasure, favor, or amusement
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Common Use

Reaction to humor or surprise
Gesture in greetings, understanding, or joy
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Complexity

Can range from chuckles to loud guffaws
Ranges from subtle to broad grins
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Potential for Insincerity

Can be mocking or forced
Can be polite, customary, or insincere
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Laugh

An audible expression indicating amusement or joy.
He let out a hearty laugh when he heard the joke.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Smile

A curvature of the lips indicating positivity.
His smile made her day brighter.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Laugh

A vocal reaction to something funny or unexpected.
The comedian made the entire room burst into laughter.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Smile

A silent display of amusement or pleasure.
He gave a shy smile when complimented.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Laugh

An act of displaying joy through sound.
Her laugh was infectious, lighting up the room.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Smile

A facial cue often used in social interactions.
She greeted everyone with a bright smile.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Laugh

A sound resulting from deep happiness or nervousness.
Her nervous laugh was evident during the interview.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Smile

A smile is formed primarily by flexing the muscles at the sides of the mouth. Some smiles include a contraction of the muscles at the corner of the eyes, an action known as a Duchenne smile.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

To express certain emotions, especially mirth or delight, by a series of spontaneous, usually unarticulated sounds often accompanied by corresponding facial and bodily movements.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

A facial expression characterized by an upward curving of the corners of the mouth and indicating pleasure, amusement, or derision.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

To show or feel amusement or good humor
An experience we would laugh about later on.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

To have or form a smile.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

To feel or express derision or contempt; mock
I had to laugh when I saw who my opponent was.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

To look with favor or approval
Fortune smiled on our efforts.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

To feel a triumphant or exultant sense of well-being
You won't be laughing when the truth comes out.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

To express cheerful acceptance or equanimity
We smiled at the bad weather and kept going.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

To produce sounds resembling laughter
Parrots laughing and chattering in the trees.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

To express with a smile
Grandmother smiled her consent.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

To affect or influence by laughter
Laughed the speaker off the stage.
Laughed the proposal down.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

A facial expression comprised by flexing the muscles of both ends of one's mouth, often showing the front teeth, without vocalisation, and in humans is a common involuntary or voluntary expression of happiness, pleasure, amusement, goodwill, or anxiety.
She's got a perfect smile.
He has a sinister smile.
She had a smile on her face.
He always puts a smile on my face.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

To say with a laugh
He laughed his delight at the victory.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

(figurative) Favour; propitious regard.
The smile of the gods
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

The act of laughing.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

A drink bought by one person for another.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

The sound of laughing; laughter.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

(ambitransitive) To have (a smile) on one's face.
When you smile, the whole world smiles with you.
I don't know what he's smiling about.
She smiles a beautiful smile.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

(Informal) Something amusing, absurd, or contemptible; a joke
The solution they recommended was a laugh.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

(transitive) To express by smiling.
To smile consent, or a welcome
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

Often laughs(Informal) Fun; amusement
Went along just for laughs.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

(intransitive) To express amusement, pleasure, or love and kindness.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

An expression of mirth particular to the human species; the sound heard in laughing; laughter.
His deep laughs boomed through the room.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

(intransitive) To look cheerful and joyous; to have an appearance suited to excite joy.
The sun smiled down from a clear summer sky.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

Something that provokes mirth or scorn.
Your new hat's an absolute laugh, dude.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

(intransitive) To be propitious or favourable; to countenance.
The gods smiled on his labours.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

A fun person.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

To express amusement, pleasure, moderate joy, or love and kindness, by the features of the face; to laugh silently.
He doth nothing but frown. . . . He hears merry tales and smiles not.
She smiled to see the doughty hero slain.
When last I saw thy young blue eyes, they smiled.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

(intransitive) To show mirth, satisfaction, or derision, by peculiar movement of the muscles of the face, particularly of the mouth, causing a lighting up of the face and eyes, and usually accompanied by the emission of explosive or chuckling sounds from the chest and throat; to indulge in laughter.
There were many laughing children running on the school grounds.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

To express slight contempt by a look implying sarcasm or pity; to sneer.
'T was what I said to Craggs and Child,Who praised my modesty, and smiled.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

To be or appear cheerful, pleasant, mirthful, lively, or brilliant; to sparkle; to sport.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

To look gay and joyous; to have an appearance suited to excite joy; as, smiling spring; smiling plenty.
The desert smiled,And paradise was opened in the wild.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

To make an object of laughter or ridicule; to make fun of; to deride; to mock.
Don't laugh at my new hat, man!
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

To be propitious or favorable; to favor; to countenance; - often with on; as, to smile on one's labors.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

(transitive) To affect or influence by means of laughter or ridicule.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

To express by a smile; as, to smile consent; to smile a welcome to visitors.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

(transitive) To express by, or utter with, laughter.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

To affect in a certain way with a smile.
And sharply smile prevailing folly dead.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

To show mirth, satisfaction, or derision, by peculiar movement of the muscles of the face, particularly of the mouth, causing a lighting up of the face and eyes, and usually accompanied by the emission of explosive or chuckling sounds from the chest and throat; to indulge in laughter.
Queen Hecuba laughed that her eyes ran o'er.
He laugheth that winneth.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

The act of smiling; a peculiar change or brightening of the face, which expresses pleasure, moderate joy, mirth, approbation, or kindness; - opposed to frown.
Sweet intercourseOf looks and smiles: for smiles from reason flow.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

Fig.: To be or appear gay, cheerful, pleasant, mirthful, lively, or brilliant; to sparkle; to sport.
Then laughs the childish year, with flowerets crowned.
In Folly's cup still laughs the bubble Joy.
No wit to flatter left of all his store,No fool to laugh at, which he valued more.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

A somewhat similar expression of countenance, indicative of satisfaction combined with malevolent feelings, as contempt, scorn, etc; as, a scornful smile.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

To affect or influence by means of laughter or ridicule.
Will you laugh me asleep, for I am very heavy?
I shall laugh myself to death.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

Favor; countenance; propitiousness; as, the smiles of Providence.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

To express by, or utter with, laughter; - with out.
From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

Gay or joyous appearance; as, the smiles of spring.
The brightness of their [the flowers'] smile was gone.
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

The sound of laughing
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

A facial expression characterized by turning up the corners of the mouth; usually shows pleasure or amusement
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

A facial expression characteristic of a person laughing;
His face wrinkled in a silent laugh of derision
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

Change one's facial expression by spreading the lips, often to signal pleasure
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

A humorous anecdote or remark intended to provoke laughter;
He told a very funny joke
He knows a million gags
Thanks for the laugh
He laughed unpleasantly at hisown jest
Even a schoolboy's jape is supposed to have some ascertainable point
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

Express with a smile;
She smiled her thanks
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Laugh

Produce laughter
Fiza Rafique
Apr 25, 2020

Smile

A facial expression formed by turning the corners of the mouth upward.
Her smile was warm and welcoming.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Laugh

A manifestation of amusement or derision.
He couldn't help but laugh at the comical situation.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Smile

A gentle facial gesture indicating recognition or understanding.
With a smile, she acknowledged her friend's advice.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Common Curiosities

Can you smile without laughing?

Yes, a smile is a silent expression and doesn't always lead to laughter.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Can animals laugh or smile?

While some animals display joy or contentment, it's debated whether it's equivalent to human laughter or smiles.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Is laughing always a sign of happiness?

No, people can laugh out of nervousness, irony, or even sarcasm.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Why do people smile during greetings?

Smiling is a universal sign of goodwill and is often used to foster friendly interactions.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Why do we feel better after laughing or smiling?

Both actions release endorphins, which can elevate mood.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Is it possible to identify a fake laugh?

Often, but it can be challenging. Genuine laughter usually involves multiple facial and body muscles.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Can smiles have different meanings across cultures?

Yes, the context and meaning of smiles can vary across cultures.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Why do we laugh at something funny?

It's a spontaneous reaction, often stemming from surprise or the subversion of expectations.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 30, 2023

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger
Link
Previous Comparison
Cab vs. Mab
Next Comparison
Zest vs. Zeal

Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

Popular Comparisons

Featured Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms