\ 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

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Other Words from smear


smearer noun

Synonyms for smear

Synonyms: Verb

anoint, bedaub, besmear, daub

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Examples of smear in a Sentence


The blood smear revealed malaria.


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

And now Democrats scrambling with their 11th hour smears against Brett Kavanaugh. Fox News, "Woman who knew Kavanaugh in high school speaks out," 14 Sep. 2018 According to the prosecutors, the defense team wants to portray Dr. Ho as a scapegoat in a U.S. smear of China; prosecutors deny that, and call it a straightforward case of corrupt business dealings. James T. Areddy, WSJ, "Bribery Trial Spotlights China’s ‘Belt and Road’," 23 Nov. 2018 Eating these foods in conjunction with fats and protein (so, an apple with a smear of peanut butter) can also help lessen symptoms of bloat. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "Why Am I Always Bloated?," 29 Oct. 2018 Debbie slaps her full in the face, and eventually pins Ruth to the ground; a smear of blood disfigures Ruth’s face. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "Marc Maron Is Great in GLOW, and Maybe That’s a Problem," 29 June 2018 To serve, put a smear of the avocado-lemongrass sauce on each plate. Jeanmarie Brownson, charlotteobserver, "Control the heat to grill the perfect steak," 26 June 2018 Menashe’s hummus is magnificent, a ring of silky, airy purée surrounding a big spoonful of chunkier, denser stuff; a green rivulet of olive oil; smears of spicy, smoky harissa and green puréed herbs. Jonathan Gold,, "At Middle Eastern restaurants, it all starts with hummus. Jonathan Gold says Bavel's is magnificent," 15 June 2018 After all that effort, the subject’s features are almost entirely obliterated by a smear of brown paint—a testament to the difficulty of capturing another human being in full. The Economist, "How Alberto Giacometti became a legend," 14 June 2018 In line with the recent healthy-ish turns at Holiday and La Luna Cafe, there's a quinoa bowl with a smear of carrot harissa, a spoonful of raita and fresh veggies. Michael Russell,, "One of Portland's best new restaurants just launched its all-day menu," 28 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Investigators found novichok had been smeared on the handle of their front door. Ciara Nugent, Time, "'There Will Be Severe Pain.' What to Know About the New Novichok Nerve Agent Poisoning in the U.K.," 5 July 2018 Nichols said that Reid's blog posts were altered in an attempt to smear and embarrass her. David Bauder,, "MSNBC's Joy Reid says homophobic posts were result of hack," 25 Apr. 2018 All of this for political gain and at the price of smearing Judge Kavanaugh. Summer Ballentine, The Seattle Times, "Hawley says he believes Kavanaugh was ‘falsely accused’," 1 Oct. 2018 Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong are accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam's face last year. Fox News, "The Latest: Indonesia envoy shocked by Malaysia trial ruling," 16 Aug. 2018 Then, mix up a fresh batch of tile grout (or buy premixed grout), and use a grout float to smear grout diagonally across the surface and deep into the joints. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Clean Dirty Grout," 5 Dec. 2018 Just as Wall Street has given up even the pretense of playing by the rules, just as politics has become a game of smearing your opponent, law is now a gladiatorial contest. James Atlas, Town & Country, "The Year of the Celebrity Super Lawyer," 3 Dec. 2018 In the energetic swirl of allegorical motifs and internal references, in smearing the line between figuration and abstraction, Kokoschka emerges as a forerunner of artists like R.B. Kitaj and Georg Baselitz. A.j. Goldmann, WSJ, "‘Oskar Kokoschka—Expressionist, Migrant, European. A Retrospective’ Review: Longevity as Blessing and Curse," 2 Jan. 2019 That has emboldened people like Mr. Stafeyev, who says Stalin has been smeared as part of a campaign, seeded by the West, to undermine the Soviet Union and Russia. James Marson, WSJ, "The Case of the Disappearing Stalin Statue Roils a Russian City," 22 Oct. 2018

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


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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Learn More about smear

Dictionary Entries near smear



sm cap



smear dab

smear dock

Statistics for smear

Last Updated

31 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for smear

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

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More Definitions for smear



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



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


\ 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



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

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with smear

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smear

Spanish Central: Translation of smear

Nglish: Translation of smear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smear for Arabic Speakers

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