rueful smile

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susanna76

Senior Member
Romanian
How would you explain "rueful," as used in the sentences below? The dictionary gives
rueful:
1. causing sorrow or pity; pitiable; deplorable: a rueful plight. 2. feeling, showing, or expressing sorrow or pity; mournful; doleful: the rueful look on her face. but I think there might be closer equivalents for "rueful smile," for instance, as in:

'I spilled a drink; you cleared it up.'
'Oh, yeah.' He nods, registering. 'You were with the guy from the band. Billy Romani.'
'Don't remind me.' I pull a face and he smiles.
'Not a fan, then?' [The protagonist was accompanying her younger self who was a fan.]
'You could say that.' I return a rueful smile.
--
'I know what you need,' I say cheerfully, changing the subject.
'A new husband?' She smiles ruefully.

It seems to be that "rueful" in the examples above doesn't convey only sorrow, but a sort of sad humor.

Thanks for all your help!
 
  • b1947420

    Senior Member
    British English
    How would you explain "rueful," as used in the sentences below? The dictionary gives
    rueful:
    1. causing sorrow or pity; pitiable; deplorable: a rueful plight. 2. feeling, showing, or expressing sorrow or pity; mournful; doleful: the rueful look on her face. but I think there might be closer equivalents for "rueful smile," for instance, as in:

    'I spilled a drink; you cleared it up.'
    'Oh, yeah.' He nods, registering. 'You were with the guy from the band. Billy Romani.'
    'Don't remind me.' I pull a face and he smiles.
    'Not a fan, then?' [The protagonist was accompanying her younger self who was a fan.]
    'You could say that.' I return a rueful smile. regretful
    --
    'I know what you need,' I say cheerfully, changing the subject.
    'A new husband?' She smiles ruefully. sheepish

    It seems to be that "rueful" in the examples above doesn't convey only sorrow, but a sort of sad humor.

    Thanks for all your help!
    You are quite right with the synonyms that you quote. However there are others and I have added these where I think they would be appropriate to the text above.
     
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