smear

noun
\ 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

smear

verb
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

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Other Words from smear

Verb

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Schnatter is still trying to rebuild his reputation after what increasingly looks like a vindictive smear campaign three years ago engineered by the ad agency hired by his own company. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "‘Stuffing Their Mouths with Gold’ — Selling the Biden/Yellen Tax Cartel," 10 Apr. 2021 The whole next decade, though, was a dull-green smear. Devin Gordon, The Atlantic, "The Mets Are Losers," 1 Apr. 2021 Navalny says the libel case, in which he is accused of defaming a World War II veteran, is designed as a smear. Washington Post, "In a Russian court, Alexei Navalny is caged and angry but far from silent," 20 Feb. 2021 There is no timeline for an independent investigator's review of the complaints against Snyder, who has alleged some of the allegations are a part of a smear campaign led, in part, by the minority owners. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder takes step toward buying remaining shares of franchise," 24 Mar. 2021 Up until the 1500s, brewing was primarily women’s work—that is, until a smear campaign accused women brewers of being witches. Laken Brooks, Smithsonian Magazine, "Women Dominated Beer Brewing Until They Were Accused of Being Witches," 8 Mar. 2021 Other methods of transnational repression include coercion by proxy, in which the family members of dissidents are targeted; mobility controls, such as canceling passports, and spyware, online smear campaigns and other forms of digital control. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | OTHERS SAY: The long arm of the outlaw regimes," 15 Feb. 2021 Trump's camp acknowledges that the prosecution has been effective but portrays it as an illegitimate smear borne of partisan animus. Peter Baker, Star Tribune, "Analysis: House managers aim arguments at nation and history," 11 Feb. 2021 Detectives also found clothing with a single blood smear that doesn't appear to indicate serous bodily injury, officials said. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, "Search continues for San Marcos man two months after his car was found crashed and abandoned," 1 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb None of the facts, though, can possibly overcome the attachment that Biden and other Democrats have to their emotionally resonant and politically powerful Jim Crow smear. Rich Lowry, National Review, "The Voter-Suppression Lie," 30 Mar. 2021 Alternative theories, concocted to provide alibis and smear the victim, would be presented as usual. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘The Art of Political Murder’ Review: Justice Shattered Then Served," 15 Dec. 2020 Joe Biden has rejected those assertions, casting them as attempts to smear his family and candidacy as the Democratic nominee. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Hunter Biden inquiry now weighs on president-elect's looming attorney general nomination," 10 Dec. 2020 Allen claimed Dylan had been coached to smear him on video. New York Times, "What Does the Dylan Farrow Home Video Reveal?," 17 Mar. 2021 Trump’s allies to smear Joe Biden, the eventual winner. Eric Tucker, Anchorage Daily News, "Putin approved Russian influence campaign to help Trump against Biden, US intelligence says," 17 Mar. 2021 Trump’s re-election prospects as well as Moscow operations that relied on Trump's allies to smear Joe Biden, the eventual winner. Eric Tucker, ajc, "US: Putin approved operations to help Trump against Biden," 17 Mar. 2021 Republicans on the panel charged that releasing disciplinary records, especially from complaints that internal investigators deemed unfounded, could be used to smear the reputations of honest officers. Pamela Wood, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland lawmakers ready for floor debate on ‘transformative’ policing reforms," 26 Feb. 2021 In 1948 an enterprising young chemist named Hazel Bishop developed a lipstick that wouldn’t smear during a kiss or leave a smudge on the lip of a drinking glass. Andrew Delbanco, The New York Review of Books, "Night Terrors," 3 Nov. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of smear

Noun

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for smear

Noun

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for smear

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Smear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smear. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for smear

smear

noun

English Language Learners Definition of smear

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a dirty mark, spot, streak, etc., made by touching or rubbing something
medical : a very small sample of something (such as skin or blood) that someone examines with a microscope
: an untrue story about a person that is meant to hurt that person's reputation

smear

verb

English Language Learners Definition of smear (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (something) dirty by rubbing it with something else
: to spread (something) over a surface
: to spread or drip in an untidy way

smear

verb
\ 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 {ampersand} Bean
2 : to spread over a surface Her makeup smeared.
3 : to harm the reputation of (someone) with false statements

smear

noun

Kids Definition of smear (Entry 2 of 2)

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

smear

noun
\ 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

Medical Definition of smear (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on smear

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smear

Nglish: Translation of smear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smear for Arabic Speakers

Comments on smear

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