A smirk (from the Old English smercian, "smile") refers to a smile evoking insolence, scorn, or offensive smugness. "A constant smirk upon the face, and a whiffling activity of the body, are strong indications of futility," the Earl of Chesterfield once wrote in a letter to his son. A smirk also refers to a fine piece of dust when it enters the eye. This often leads to an uncomfortable feeling, and results in the sufferer searching in their eye to remove the foreign item. This can cause the sufferer to pull a face similar to that of a smirk, hence the name.