For context, the sentence is にへら、という気の抜けた笑顔。 And the sentence before is そこまで考えて、胸内にふと一人の人物の顔が浮かんだ。 The character whose monologue this is is spacing out during a movie thinking about his recent past, if it helps.

Could someone help me understand what にへら means? I looked it up and only found a Japanese question about にへら but it was in the middle of a sentence, so I didn’t think it applied.


It's a mimetic word that describes a type of a happy and relaxing smile. へらへら and にんまり are much more common, and にへら comes somewhere between them. You can see 200+ illustrations tagged with にへら顔 here. If I can choose one, this picture exactly matches my image of にへら.

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