indulgent smile

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redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
Nathan was stroking Trickster's ears. Trickster was nuzzling Nathan's hand. Mr. Bosu smiled at them both indulgently as his call was finally picked up.

Source: Alone, Lisa Gardner
Background: Mr Bosu, a killer, was driving his dog, Trickster , and a kid to his benefactor's house. He was nothing if not kind to Nathan because the kid reminded him of his mother.

The definition "allowing someone to have or do what they want, especially when this is not good for them" doesn't help me picture an indulgent smile. Is it a smile that shows how self indulgent Mr Bosu is? If so, would you say "smiled at them both self-indulgently"?
 
  • jmichaelm

    Senior Member
    English - US
    This is not a self-indulgent smile.

    He is accepting the boy and the dog's interactions, the noises they are making, their presence. He is allowing them to interact as they like.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Mr Bosu was smiling at them in rather the way I smile at my grandchildren as they do silly things ... such as throwing all the cushions on the floor and running over the resulting "river".
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thanks jmichaelm and panjandrum.

    This is a smile that is effectively a nod to what they are doing.
     
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