Can't even get a trade-in on your smile/smock

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Senior Member

Please, I understand what does "trade-in" mean, but even so I can't catch the meaning of "get a trade-in on your smile".

Your future's so unclear now,
what's left of your career now
Can't even get a trade-in on your smile.
Beauty school drop-out, no graduation day for you.

Musical: Grease Song: Beauty School Dropout

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    Senior Member
    American English
    You have the lyrics wrong; it's a smock she can't get a trade-in on. Does that help?
    I checked six different lyrics pages and three videos -- eight had "smile" and only one had "smock."

    I would guess that, like flight attendants and hotel desk staff, beauty school students spend a lot of time working on their smiles to appear friendly to customers. But ultimately her smile is worthless -- she's a dropout and won't be able to use it in her career, and it has no value that she can use to trade in for something else.

    The same would be true for a smock, of course. Not a lot of value in a used smock. But the preponderance of evidence is that the word is "smile."
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    Senior Member
    English - US
    I checked six different lyrics pages and three videos -- eight had "smile" and only one had "smock."
    Trust me, it's "smock" - it has to rhyme with "block." If you listen, it's a big note smAAAAAH and the K gets swallowed. It never turns into the eye sound of smile, i.e. if there's an L on the end, the word would be "small" so transcribers think it must be "smile".
    The lyrics sites copy from each other so 1,000 lyrics sites are no more evidence than 1 lyrics site.


    Senior Member
    American English
    I own the published script of the stage version, and as Myridon says, it rhymes with "block" in a previous line. It's definitely "smock."


    Senior Member
    English English
    This error actually predates the internet: I can remember seeing 'smile' given (possibly on the film soundtrack album sleeve as I can't imagine where else I might've seen it) some time in the 1980s. It's smock: 'smile' definitely doesn't rhyme block:)
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