Word of the Day

smite

audio pronunciation
March 24, 2014
verb
\SMYTE\
Definition
1
: to strike sharply or heavily
2
a : to kill or severely injure by striking b : to attack or afflict suddenly and injuriously
3
: to affect as if by striking
Examples
Susan jokingly declared that her mother would smite her if she ever went out in the winter with wet hair.

"For 10 years or more I was that guy at work with the order form and the sheepish grin, guilt-tripping colleagues into buying 'discount cards' and inflated-price cookie dough that they didn't want. For me to then turn down the next wave of sheepishly grinning co-workers would be like challenging God to smite me with a lightning bolt just on principle." — From an editorial by Robert Price in the Bakersfield Californian, February 15, 2014
Subscribe
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
Today's word has been part of the English language for a very long time; the earliest documented use in print dates to the 12th century. "Smite" can be traced back to an Old English word meaning "to smear or defile" and is a distant relative of the Scottish word "smit," meaning "to stain, contaminate, or infect." In addition to the straightforward "strike" and "attack" senses that we've defined and illustrated above, "smite" also has a softer side. It can mean "to captivate or take"—a sense that is frequently used in the past participle in such contexts as "smitten by her beauty" or "smitten with him" (meaning "in love with him").

Test Your Memory: What former Word of the Day begins with "s" and can mean " the state of being old" or "the process of becoming old"? The answer is …
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Podcast
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears