\ ˈsmir How to pronounce smear (audio) \

Definition of smear

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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 campaigna smear job


smeared; smearing; smears

Definition of smear (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to overspread with something unctuous, viscous, or adhesive : daub smeared the paper with glue
b : to spread over a surface
2a : 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

Other Words from smear


smearer noun

Synonyms for smear

Synonyms: Verb

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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 The accusations that Jackson is somehow soft on pedophiles are so spurious that even a writer in the conservative National Review condemned them as a meritless smear. Jill Filipovic, CNN, 5 Apr. 2022 The news devolved into a legal firestorm for both artists, with Megan asserting her innocence in the assault and Lanez launching an all-out smear campaign against the Grammy-winning rapper. Ineye Komonibo,, 27 Apr. 2022 Martha played a key role in exposing the scandal to the press, and was subject to beatings, captivity, and a smear campaign by Nixon’s administration. Oscar Hartzog, Rolling Stone, 26 Apr. 2022 Chinese state media have labeled the project a smear campaign and point out that online discourse in the West is also laden with extremist views. NBC News, 24 Apr. 2022 The details surrounding her infamous claims, and the subsequent smear campaign that attacked her character, are just a few of the many details covered in Starz's new series, Gaslit, starring Julia Roberts as Martha and Sean Penn as John. Allure, 22 Apr. 2022 Like: But then again, that might diminish its smear-ability off-trail, so never mind. Marc Peruzzi, Outside Online, 9 Jan. 2022 Life behind the scenes for Lucille Ball (played by Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) is the subject of this biopic, set during a time the couple was battling a political smear and taking on cultural taboos. Lisa Respers France, CNN, 26 Dec. 2021 For decades, astronomers assumed that just such a smear was coming from a nearby object — perhaps the remnant of a long-ago supernova. Michael Moyer, Quanta Magazine, 22 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In Los Angeles, Black Chyna, a model and ex-reality star whose legal name is Angela White, returns to the witness chair Wednesday in a trial over whether the Kardashian family worked together to smear her reputation and ruin her television career. Editors, USA TODAY, 20 Apr. 2022 Over the years, Elon Musk has used Twitter to flout securities laws, smear his critics and promote useless treatments for COVID-19. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2022 Current density functionals often smear out electrons too much. Quanta Magazine, 7 Feb. 2022 Such people are easier to smear because charges against them are often not properly scrutinized. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 16 Apr. 2022 Recent polling offers one clue for why Republicans are eager to smear Democrats as pedophiles (or, at the very least, of being soft on such assault). Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 8 Apr. 2022 As social media giants like Facebook and Twitter play cat-and-mouse with coordinated keyboard warriors who spread disinformation, prop up political clients or smear their opponents, historical whitewashing is finding new homes. Washington Post, 22 Feb. 2022 And sure, many of these are quite good, although some are perhaps attempts to smear boozy lipstick on a whiskey pig. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 18 Feb. 2022 Its government plied its people with lies about COVID-19 and even tried to smear its critics. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'smear.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of smear


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


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

History and Etymology for smear


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

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Time Traveler for smear

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

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Dictionary Entries Near smear

sm cap



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Statistics for smear

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Smear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for smear


\ ˈsmir How to pronounce smear (audio) \
smeared; smearing

Kids Definition of smear

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to spread or soil with something oily or sticky So Bean carefully smeared white all over Ivy's face except her lips.— Annie Barrows, Ivy {amp} Bean
2 : to spread over a surface Her makeup smeared.
3 : to harm the reputation of (someone) with false statements



Kids Definition of smear (Entry 2 of 2)

: a spot or streak made by or as if by an oily or sticky substance : smudge


\ ˈsmi(ə)r How to pronounce smear (audio) \

Medical Definition of smear

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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


transitive verb

Medical Definition of smear (Entry 2 of 2)

: to prepare as a smear for microscopic examination : make a smear of

More from Merriam-Webster on smear

Nglish: Translation of smear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smear for Arabic Speakers


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