I remember reading this word in the writings of Anthony Burgess. I think it began with an 'r' and could also be used in a medical context when describing facial paralysis. Can anyone help me out?
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The word is rictus.
And Wikipedia gives the medical usage:
You may also be looking for the slightly more colloquial phrase Stepford Smile.
Unfortunately, the only approximate definition I can find appears to be a TVTropes page: