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noun smoth·er \ˈsmə-thər\

Definition of smother

  1. 1a :  thick stifling smoke or smudgeb :  a state of being stifled or suppressed

  2. 2 :  a dense cloud (as of fog or dust)

  3. 3 :  a confused multitude of things :  welter

smoth·ery play \ˈsmə-thə-rē, ˈsməth-rē\ adjective

Origin of smother

Middle English, alteration of smorther, from smoren to smother, from Old English smorian to suffocate; akin to Middle Dutch smoren to suffocate

First Known Use: 13th century

Rhymes with smother



verb smoth·er

Simple Definition of smother

  • : to kill (someone) by covering the face so that breathing is not possible

  • : to cover (something) in order to keep it from growing or spreading

  • : to try to keep (something) from happening : to try to stop doing (something)

Full Definition of smother

smoth·eredsmoth·er·ing play \ˈsmə-thə-riŋ, ˈsməth-riŋ\

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to be overcome or killed through or as if through lack of air

  3. transitive verb
  4. 1 :  to overcome or kill with smoke or fumes

  5. 2a :  to kill by depriving of airb :  to overcome or discomfit through or as if through lack of airc :  to suppress (a fire) by excluding oxygen

  6. 3a :  to cause to smolderb :  to suppress expression or knowledge of <smothered his rage>c :  to stop or prevent the growth or activity of <smother a child with too much care>; also :  overwhelmd :  to cover thickly :  blanket <snow smothered the trails>e :  to overcome or vanquish quickly or decisively

  7. 4 :  to cook in a covered pan or pot with little liquid over low heat

Examples of smother

  1. He tried to smother her with a pillow.

  2. She smothered the fire with a blanket.

Circa 1520

First Known Use of smother

circa 1520

SMOTHER Defined for Kids


verb smoth·er \ˈsmə-thər\

Definition of smother


  1. 1 :  to kill or injure by keeping from getting air or by exposing to smoke or fumes :  suffocate

  2. 2 :  to become suffocated

  3. 3 :  to keep from growing or developing by or as if by covering <smother a fire> <… anguish smothered her smallest joy. — Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising>

  4. 4 :  to keep from happening :  suppress <I tried to smother a yawn.>

  5. 5 :  to cover thickly <The salad was smothered with dressing.>

Seen and Heard

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February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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