a half-buried smile

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Senior Member
There was a photo of Tom Fitzwilliam on page eight of the local paper. He was standing at the entrance to the Academy, his arms folded across his stomach, a thin blue tie blown slightly askew by the wind, looking at the camera sternly with a half-buried smile. The headline said ‘SUPERHEAD TACKLES GANGS’.
source: Watching You by Lisa Jewell

How does a half-buried smile look like? What would a synonym for half-buried?

thank you.
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s just the writer’s idiosyncratic way of saying a barely perceptible smile, a half-smile, a hint of a smile. It has no special meaning.
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