smear

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: a viscous or sticky substance
b
: a spot made by or as if by an unctuous or adhesive substance
2
: material smeared on a surface (as of a microscopic slide)
also : a preparation made by smearing material on a surface
a vaginal smear
3
: a usually unsubstantiated charge or accusation against a person or organization
often used attributively
a smear campaign
a smear job

smear

2 of 2

verb

smeared; smearing; smears

transitive verb

1
a
: to overspread with something unctuous, viscous, or adhesive : daub
smeared the paper with glue
b
: to spread over a surface
2
a
: to stain, smudge, or dirty by or as if by smearing
b
: sully, besmirch
specifically : to vilify especially by secretly and maliciously spreading grave charges and imputations
3
: to obliterate, obscure, blur, blend, wipe out, or defeat by or as if by smearing
smearer noun

Examples of smear in a Sentence

Noun The blood smear revealed malaria. Verb The children smeared the window with fingerprints. She smeared jam on her toast. Butter was smeared all over the counter. Her mascara smeared when she cried.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Since pap smears began screening for HPV by taking a sample of the cervix, Saphier noted that cervical cancer mortality has decreased. Angelica Stabile, Fox News, 15 Feb. 2024 The chicken banh mi is delicious and wrong: Plenty of shredded chicken and a smear of pate don’t have enough pickled carrot and cilantro and hot pepper to hit the balance of the Vietnamese icon. Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 The rounds of seaweed are crisp and curved, cradling a smear of mashed avocado and a heap of caviar. Jenn Harris, Los Angeles Times, 17 Jan. 2024 Finally, because of the treatment failures, clinicians at Hospital La Paz in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, took a closer look at her case and noted Maltese crosses in her blood smears. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 13 Oct. 2023 That’s why Pap smears typically are recommended every three years for women ages 21 to 65. Chicago Tribune, 26 Jan. 2024 The sandpaper’s grit turns an X-ray beam into a nebula-like X-ray smear. IEEE Spectrum, 11 Jan. 2024 If their outermost electrons could be oriented willy-nilly, as classical theory predicted, the deflected atoms would be expected to form a single broad smear along the detector plate. Leila Sloman, Quanta Magazine, 6 Dec. 2023 Romney’s loss was blamed by many not on Democratic smears but on the Republican’s establishment credentials and moderate approach to politics. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 26 Oct. 2023
Verb
On the witness stand Thursday, Willis forcefully pushed back against any suggestion that her relationship with Wade created a conflict of interest and accused a defense attorney of trying to smear her with salacious lies in an effort to discredit the case against Trump. Kate Brumback, arkansasonline.com, 17 Feb. 2024 Some Yoon supporters have also accused Choi and the Voice of Seoul of setting a trap to smear the first lady and influence the upcoming election. Yoonjung Seo, CNN, 9 Feb. 2024 After Trump continued to smear her, Carroll asked for additional damages in her defamation ruling. Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone, 28 Jan. 2024 The chubby doe-foot applicator was a surprise, but the wand still allowed for precise application without excess product smearing onto my lips. Dianna Mazzone, Allure, 18 Jan. 2024 The man is clearly passionate about the stuff, smearing it on his waffles for breakfast, swirling it onto ice cream, blending it into smoothies and simply eating it by the spoonful. Ellie Krieger, Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2024 Elon Musk smeared Delaware judge Kathaleen McCormick who struck down his record-breaking $56 billion pay package as a danger to America’s free market capitalism. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2024 For a bit of on the spot wellness, smear the seaweed on your face to reduce the early signs of aging. Michelle Tchea, Robb Report, 30 Jan. 2024 Then in 2022, a visitor smeared frosting all over the Renaissance-era painting’s protective glass. Chris Liakos, CNN, 29 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English smere, from Old English smeoru; akin to Old High German smero grease and probably to Old Irish smiur marrow

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of smear was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near smear

Cite this Entry

“Smear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smear. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

smear

1 of 2 noun
1
: a spot made by or as if by an oily or sticky substance : smudge
2
: material smeared on a surface
especially : material prepared for microscopic examination by smearing on a slide compare pap smear
3
: a usually unproven charge or accusation

smear

2 of 2 verb
1
a
: to spread with something oily or sticky
b
: to spread over a surface
2
a
: to stain, smudge, or dirty by or as if by smearing
b
: to harm the reputation of
3
: to blot out or blur by or as if by smearing
smearer noun

Medical Definition

smear

1 of 2 noun
: material spread on a surface (as of a microscopic slide)
also : a preparation made by spreading material on a surface see pap smear, vaginal smear

smear

2 of 2 transitive verb
: to prepare as a smear for microscopic examination : make a smear of

More from Merriam-Webster on smear

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