Is there one word for the type of smile which shows the following type of emotion:

I’ve got you! Now you can’t escape!

For example, a detective smiles this way on finding an irrefutable piece of evidence that will convict a notorious criminal.

  • Usually that's called a "triumphant" smile or grin. – Robusto Aug 2 '12 at 18:46
  • There's a smile that says all that? Is there a frown that says, "The truth is, you could actually escape if you wanted to."? – Bob Aug 2 '12 at 20:07
  • Are we writing a novel? – Warren P Aug 2 '12 at 23:48
  • @WarrenP No, I am not. But that doesn't mean I won't in the future ;) – CodeBlue Aug 6 '12 at 14:28

Right off the top of my head, I’d probably go with triumphant.

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I would suggest smirk. It means to smile in a smug or self-satisfied manner. It is often used pejoritively, but not necessarily.

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If the bad guy was gloating while holding the detective in his clutches, then I'd probably call that a sinister smile. But fortunately, in this case, it's the detective who has the upper hand, and he is flashing a knowing smile.

From Collins:

knowing (adj.)
1. suggesting secret information or knowledge
2. wise, shrewd, or clever
3. deliberate; intentional

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There is the collocation predatory smile.

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