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As she turned to leave, the flower retailer immediately replaced his smile with ...

I want to say he replaced his smile with his 'idle face' or his face without expression, but neither of those sound good.

The face that you pull when you're not pulling a face. Not a defined expression. Kinda like I've noticed I'm doing right now as I type (though this fact's no help to answerers).

  • You could also write “the smile immediately faded from the florist's face.” – Bradd Szonye Oct 16 '13 at 23:14
  • He kept a straight face. – VijayaRagavan Oct 17 '13 at 5:39
  • 2
    Try "blank", "bland" or maybe "keanu". – Shadur Oct 17 '13 at 13:54
  • poker face :| – NVZ Jul 20 '16 at 5:31

11 Answers 11

15

The most common phrase would be 'blank', thus:

As she turned to leave, the flower seller immediately replaced his smile with a blank expression.

(No one says 'retailer' outside of industry magazines).

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12

I like @ElendilTheTall's answer, but here are a few alternatives.

If you're trying to emphasize the transition from smiling to neutral, you could say something like

As she turned to leave, the smile faded from the florist's face.

If the smile was put on or phony, you could say

As she turned to leave, the florist immediately dropped his smile.

If you're trying to emphasize the new, inscrutable expression, one option is poker face.

an expression on your face that does not show your thoughts or feelings

As she turned to leave, the florist immediately switched on his best poker face.

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4

I have used a few times expressionless:

He had an expressionless face, what was he really thinking.

Lacking expression:

Their faces remained expressionless as they listened to the bad news.

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  • 3
    ...immediately replaced his smile with an expressionless mask. – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 16 '13 at 23:49
  • @WayfaringStranger - Looks good to me. – Arthor Oct 17 '13 at 0:04
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instead of 'flower seller', I'd say florist--which is a flower seller.

blank expression can also be a staid expression

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1

I would go for bland expression:

3 : showing no emotion, concern, etc. ▪ a bland expression/face ▪

Alternatives are stony expression and poker face. The latter, however, implies someone actively trying to block expression from their face, not necessarily the true absence of emotion.

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  • Similar to a stony expression, you could also say that he went stone-faced (or stony-faced, an alternative form of the same word). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 16 '13 at 23:54
  • +1 for stony: As she turned to leave, the florist's face turned stony. Or lost all expression – Jim Oct 17 '13 at 6:51
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You could use 'deadpan demeanour', but it does imply that the lack of expression is deliberate. Otherwise 'expressionless' is perhaps the best word.

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  • 1
    Whenever someone uses deadpan, I always assume it's a blank expression to mask another one... Like when your telling a joke, the real comedians will remain deadpan instead of laughing or smiling with the joke – Dan Hanly Oct 17 '13 at 11:48
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My suggestion is the word inscrutable, although I realize an inscrutable expression could be characterized as mysterious, impenetrable, hard to read. Still, it's a good word if the person who is looking at the florist sees the expression but does not know how to interpret it.

What complicates things is that you give no reason why the flower seller lost his smile. What did the customer(?) do or say to make the smile disappear. Furthermore, why--if that is the case--is it significant for plot development?

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0

Impassive, If you want to say it in a formal way.

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-1

enter image description here

Poker face would be the right noun, but I would say,

...the florist dropped his smile

or

...a vacant expression replaced the florist's smile

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-1

1) Poker-Face 2) Stoic 3) Straight face 4) Blank

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  • Two of those have already been included in other answers. Please add descriptions and links for the other two. I might also add that ‘straight face’ seems somewhat ill-suited here, as it refers specifically to holding back and concealing the desire to laugh. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 17 '13 at 11:43
  • Sorry, just joined the website. Have been acquainting myself with the portal. – VocabMonk Oct 17 '13 at 11:51
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The psychologist's expression for a lack of facial expression is "flat affect"

References: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=26293 & http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-a-flat-affect.htm

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  • I added some references, but I feel "flat affect" is too extreme for the current situation. – Prem Apr 17 '15 at 7:40

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