Does it describe that reserved sort of smile, when you slightly raise just one corner of your mouth?
Or a smirk?

Or is it an idiom that shouldn't be taken literally?


片頬 means "one cheek" (one of a pair (片) + cheek (頬) = one cheek (片頬)). So, 片頬で笑う would mean to smile with only one side of your face (which I assume is what you meant in the first sentence of your question).

I don't think this on its own is an idiom, but after research I did find one idiom that contains the phrase: 男は三年に片頬笑う. It describes a man who only smiles like this very rarely (i.e. "once every three years") because smiling too much will damage his dignity.

  • Ah, OK =) But does it convey any particular mood or emotion? – Laliana May 9 '17 at 15:28
  • 1
    @Laliana Depends on context; probably nothing different from what you would expect. – Blavius May 9 '17 at 21:20

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