This is what I've found so far:

Noun Hindi: मुस्कान f (muskān) Russian: усме́шка (ru) f (usméška)

Verb Indo-Iranian: *smáyati Proto-Slavic: smьjati (*smijàti)

PIE: *(s)meyh₂-

English: Smile


The answer is no. Hindi muskān cannot derive from the Sanskrit root SMI; the vowels do not match. Turner derives it from a hypothetical ancestor *muss.


  • Thanks! That hypothetical ancestor *muss, would it belong to some Proto language? Sep 29 '18 at 0:08
  • Possibly a substrate word.
    – fdb
    Sep 29 '18 at 16:42

You seem to have answered your own question! To our current understanding, yes, they are cognates, also cognate with English "smile", "smirk", and (less directly, via Latin via French) "admire" and "miracle".

This PIE root is quite well-attested, and has direct descendants in many different Indo-European languages. I don't know enough about Hindi to talk about the derivation there, but in Russian, -шка is a productive noun-deriving suffix.

  • Yeah, it’d make more sense to compare Russian смех ‘laughter’ or смеяться ‘to laugh’ rather than their derivative усмешка ‘smirk’.
    – Alex B.
    Sep 29 '18 at 16:07
  • 2
    Why is this incorrect answer being upvoted? See @fdb's answer
    – ubadub
    Oct 1 '18 at 18:27

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