smarmy was our Word of the Day on 02/08/2015. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of smarmy in a Sentence
Yes, he's a smarmy know-it-all with the personality of a hall monitor, the kind of guy everyone hides from at a Christmas party. —Bill Simmons, ESPN, 2 Aug. 2004
Norman's attempt at setting the Holly story straight is a well-researched volume in which Holly comes across as a talented, fun-loving guy who carried the torch for a high-school sweetheart with strong religious convictions; who blindly signed over much of his future income to Norman Perry, his smarmy producer and manager; and who endured grueling concert tours of the U.S. and Britain. —Genevieve Stuttaford, Publishers Weekly, 12 Aug.1996
Perhaps not—but Zarrella's absence is giving prime-time exposure to Channel 9 sports backups Drew Soicher, Carol Maloney and Rod Mackey, any of whom is preferable to the main man, whose on-air presence has grown smarmier with each passing year. —Michael Roberts, Denver Westword, 15 Mar. 2001
Recent Examples of smarmy from the Web
Earnestness comes through even in jokey, smarmy versions.
Carrying the filmmaker's political banner is Matthew Modine, playing a smart and smarmy countercultural Marine recruit.
Constantine Maroulis makes the most of his swaggering, smarmy role of Sergio, the TV food star who's enlisted to help David and Claire save Table.
Patty, Joel Roster as smarmy radio DJ Vince Fontaine and Katie Iannitello as coarse prom date Cha-Cha.
Enter Robert Downey, Jr.'s Tony Stark, the smarmy Avengers leader Iron Man.
The standard plot — young boy and heroic, smarmy dog confront bad guys — was perfect fodder for children.
This weekend, Saturday Night Live fans eager to see the Alec Baldwin version of Donald Trump rip into the president immediately following his inauguration were instead greeted by Beck Bennett’s priceless, shirtless, and smarmy Valdimir Putin.
Without giving too much away, it’s a story of a rivalry between a geeky computer programmer and his smarmy boss, with some World War I dog-fighting thrown in.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'smarmy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Something smarmy will often ooze with self-satisfaction and insincerity. Much like its synonyms unctuous and slick, smarmy has a history that starts with a meaning of literal slipperiness or oiliness. The verb smarm appeared in English in the mid-19th century. Etymologists don't know where it came from, but they do know that it meant "to smear," "to gush," or sometimes "to make smooth or oily." A few decades later, the use of smarm was extended to sometimes mean "to use flattery." The adjective smarmy appeared in the early 20th century. At first meaning "insincerely flattering" or "smug," it later took on an additional meaning: "sleazy."
Origin and Etymology of smarmy
smarm to gush, slobber
First Known Use: 1924See Words from the same year
SMARMY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of smarmy for English Language Learners
: behaving in a way that seems polite, kind, or pleasing but is not genuine or believable
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