I felt the smile creep onto my face. What does smile creep mean? What about synonyms?

  • youtube.com/watch?v=-oehGtcW6BU
    – Evan M
    Feb 7, 2014 at 23:14
  • -1 for a question that could have been answered by looking in a dictionary or thesaurus
    – Leon Conrad
    Feb 7, 2014 at 23:19
  • 1
    Er, me feeling a smile creep onto my face is okay; but it is really creepy if someone else's smile ("the smile") is creeping onto my face! Ugh!
    – F.E.
    Feb 7, 2014 at 23:24
  • 1
    Im just translating the text, so it is not my own phrase.
    – Polli
    Feb 7, 2014 at 23:33
  • 1
    @Leon Conrad: I think the problem (for a non native speaker) is in the parsing of the sentence, not the meaning of the word.
    – Tom Au
    Feb 7, 2014 at 23:49

3 Answers 3


This is an expression that describes the lips slowly moving into a smile. Usually used in a literary context to indicate that some realisation or understanding is dawning upon the protagonist.

  • Or dawning on the antagonist...
    – J.R.
    Feb 9, 2014 at 0:36

"Smile creep" is not a noun. You do not use it in the same sense as "I felt the CREME on my face."

Shorten the phrase to "The smile creeps onto my face." and it makes more sense. Subject= smile, verb= creeps, "my face" is the object.


Creep = to move slowly.

So the above sentence means, essentially, "I felt the smile move slowly onto my face"

Another example: I had to creep quietly into the room to keep from waking the baby.

  • A few more (more metaphorical) examples: ivy can creep up a wall, a shadow can creep over the landscape, and a sense of fear can creep into our souls.
    – J.R.
    Feb 9, 2014 at 1:44

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