Most people, especially receptionists and air hostesses have the ability to smile in a fake way. Being professional, their smile isn't real. Inside they cry and die a thousand dead of tensions but they smile like a fresh mango. Well, I appreciate this for their job.

I wanna know what such a person is called who smiles fake?

  • Welcome to ELU! I love your smile like fresh mango! Is it common in Indian English? anyway, nice question but I would really recommend that you wait for other suggested answers before accepting the first one. Usually a day is enough. Please visit the site and get a feel as to how it works. – Mari-Lou A May 25 '14 at 17:34
  • sure :) thanks for writing in. This time I did. I would take care of your advice the next time. – jahanvi Kashyap May 25 '14 at 17:35
  • nopes deceptive smile and 'i give no damn' smile are different. – jahanvi Kashyap May 25 '14 at 17:43
  • This is not a duplicate question. Some answers might make it look like a duplicate. – 0.. May 25 '14 at 18:11
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    I have to second @Mari-LouA - I love the "smile like a fresh mango" simile, and would love to know if this is your own coinage, or if it's actually used where you come from. :) – Alicja Z May 26 '14 at 10:48

13 Answers 13


I would call such smile a Pan Am smile.

The Pan Am smile, aka the 'Botox smile," is the name given to a fake smile, in which only the zygomatic major muscle is voluntarily contracted to show politeness. It is named after the airline Pan American World Airways which went out of business in 1991, whose flight attendants would always flash every jet setter the same perfunctory smile.

As for the person, hospitality professional sounds like what fits best your description.

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    Perhaps they'd got wind of how badly the company was doing. – Edwin Ashworth May 25 '14 at 18:52
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    +1 for jet setter. When air travel was more glamorous than proctological. – Spehro Pefhany May 25 '14 at 21:02

I would call that a forced smile, though there's some implication that it could be easily detected as such.

Probably the best term is the one you used ("fake smile") if you want to imply that their acting skills are good.

  • No doubt. forced smile is showing generic meaning. :) – jahanvi Kashyap May 25 '14 at 17:29


smirk : To smile in an affected, often offensively self-satisfied manner.

Example usage from the book "Silenced" By J.L. Buchanan:

George walked over to the receptionist and said, "Can you point me in the direction of the restroom please." She looked him without talking and pointed down the hall. He turned to look and saw a big sign hanging from the ceiling that read "RESTROOMS". He then turned back and replied "Oh, thanks." The receptionist smirked at him as he turned made his way to the restroom.

Also, there is a less common word: eccedentesiast

A person who fakes a smile

Also mentioned in urbandictionary with a stronger definition:

Someone who hides behind a smile, when all they want to do is hide and/or die. ( There is so many, they actually made a word for it.)

Note: It is a neologism coined by Florence King.

Additionally, simperer might fit (but it can be used in some other situations as well)

a smiler whose smile is silly and self-conscious and sometimes coy

simper: to smile in a way that is not sincere or natural

Example usage from the book "A Separate Country" By Robert Hicks:

I was a simperer, a sniveler. I depended on the charity of other men, my new business partners and the men who might give me their business. This trust was misplaced, my dependence a disaster.

I want to include a made-up phrase also:

smile-faker or professional smile-faker

Note: The question does not ask for a word for the fake smile but a word for the person whose smile is fake. There is a difference and there can be different answers.

Answers for the fake smile is here: What is a good idiom for deceptive smile?

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    I've never heard of eccedentesiast, but I like it. Obviously a neologism. Looks like it's from ecce dentes (‘look, teeth!’ or ‘look at the teeth’ in Latin) + -iast, which is quite clever. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 25 '14 at 20:02
  • @Janu: Yes, it is a very clever neologism. Thanks for the explanation. I will mention the person who coined in my answer. – 0.. May 25 '14 at 20:19
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    -1 for smirk. . – dwjohnston May 26 '14 at 1:23
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    Sorry - that wasn't a particularly useful comment. It doesn't fit because of the very definition you gave: To smile in an affected, often offensively self-satisfied manner. That isn't the same as putting on a fake smile for the sake of customer service. You could even argue that a smirk is a genuine smile. – dwjohnston May 26 '14 at 1:37
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    Alright sure, I agree that a smirk can be an intentional fake smile, with the intent to antagonize their victim. However, that's not the scenario that the OP is asking about. – dwjohnston May 26 '14 at 1:45

In tv tropes jargon, this is known as a Stepford smiler, a term I've also seen used outside of that site. The term is named after the movie The Stepford Wives, with the titular wives being the fake-smilers.


Such a person is false-faced:

False-faced a. 1. Hypocritical.


Hypocrisy is the claim or pretense of holding beliefs, feelings, standards, qualities, opinions, behaviors, virtues, motivations, or other characteristics that one does not in actual fact hold.

A smile denotes happy feelings. A false smile merely makes a pretense of happy feelings.

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    A rose is still a rose, even when it gets downvotes. Not all false smiles are forced, neither are all smirks. Some are perfectly good false expressions, put on with intent to deceive. – Wayfaring Stranger May 26 '14 at 22:07

"He entered the room with a pretend smile and sat by her bed".


Putting on a brave face might fit what you're expressing here with 'Inside they cry and die a thousand dead of tensions'.

Jenny was dying inside, she hated her job; she hated her smarmy manager, the bossy customers, and her useless colleagues. However, she had rent to pay and a child to feed. She put on a brave face and smiled for the passengers as they boarded the plane.


Since you asked for a word that describes the person, I'd suggest "insincere". (Which could also be used to describe the smile, come to think of it.)


I think they should be called "Cheshire-ites" after the Cheshire cat that appears to smile, but it's fake!

  • How about just 'Man with a Cheshire smile'? – dwjohnston May 26 '14 at 1:21

You can call that person in general duplicitous or deceitful.

But this two specific meanings might apply also:


insincere and deceitful.
synonyms:   deceitful, insincere, double-dealing, Janus-faced, hypocritical,
 backstabbing, false, fickle, untrustworthy, duplicitous, deceiving, dissembling, 

or better Janus-faced since you seem to want to describe someone who is perplexed by the inner contrast between what it feels and what it represents:

having two sharply contrasting aspects or characteristics.
"the Janus-faced nature of American society"
insincere or deceitful.
"a Janus-faced politician"


"affected smile", Although, I have not seen this used commonly.


"Fake Smiler" is the most understandable word .


Term that can be use for that is "Sneering Smile".

The definition for sneer, taken from oxforddictionaries.com

smile or speak in a contemptuous or mocking manner.

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