smash·​mouth ˈsmash-ˌmau̇th How to pronounce smashmouth (audio)
: characterized by brute force without finesse
smashmouth football

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Smashmouth crashed its way into the English language during the 1984 football season to describe the brutally hard-hitting play that is characteristic of the game. It has since been used to describe similar physicality in other contact sports, such as hockey and basketball, and has even forced its way out of the realm of sports into politics; we’ve been using it to describe hardball tactics in politics since the 1984 U.S. presidential election. However, this political application of smashmouth has yet to make it into the end zone. It occurs too rarely in English to merit its own sense in the dictionary.

Examples of smashmouth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On Sunday, three Oklahoma linemen who started together only two years ago will reunite at New Era Field, where the Ravens and Buffalo Bills will face off in a battle of smashmouth offenses. Jonas Shaffer,, 7 Dec. 2019 His physicality as a runner sets the tone for Herman’s smashmouth offense, and his touch as a passer keeps defenses out of eight-man boxes. Michael Shapiro,, 9 Aug. 2019 O’Rourke is currently testing whether the nice guy approach can work in a smashmouth political climate. Matt Viser, Town & Country, 26 July 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'smashmouth.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1975, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of smashmouth was in 1975


Dictionary Entries Near smashmouth

Cite this Entry

“Smashmouth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

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