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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from smear

Verb

smearer noun

Synonyms for smear

Synonyms: Verb

anoint, bedaub, besmear, daub

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Then the Knicks alienated Porzingis, started a smear campaign and traded him to Dallas. Michael Rosenberg, SI.com, "All Cap Space, No Substance: Knicks Think They’re Something, but They’re Nothing," 1 July 2019 Gallagher's lawyers say the group chat was used to orchestrate a smear campaign to bring down their demanding platoon chief. Author: Julie Watson, Anchorage Daily News, "Navy SEAL trial exposes divide in normally secretive force," 30 June 2019 The coordinated smear campaign on Senator @KamalaHarris is racist and vile. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "2020 Democrats rush to defend Kamala Harris against attacks on her blackness," 30 June 2019 Gallagher’s lawyers say the group chat was used to orchestrate a smear campaign to bring down their demanding platoon chief. Julie Watson, The Denver Post, "Navy SEAL trial exposes divide in normally secretive force," 30 June 2019 Collier sued Bentley, former Bentley political adviser Rebekah Mason, former ALEA Secretary Stan Stabler and others for what Collier said was a smear campaign used to justify Bentley’s decision to fire him as ALEA secretary in 2016. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al.com, "Alabama pays $525,000 to settle Collier-Bentley case; with legal fees total hits $1 million," 27 June 2019 Subsequently, that smear was identified to be blood. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "An expert’s testimony about a bloody towel helped win murder convictions. But it wasn’t blood.," 18 June 2019 This street art style smears color over classic white paired next to the pansexual flag. Allure, "15 Nail Art Ideas to Wear During Pride — and They’re Not Just Rainbows," 6 June 2019 For most of us, using face oils should be pretty straightforward: Step one, smear on face. Glamour, "Best Face Oil for Every Skin Type and How to Use Them," 16 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Their assumption is that political activists can easily smear their résumés, while the silent majority of citizens is mostly too busy to object and will not rally en masse to their sobriety. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Cowardly Incoherence of Name-Changing, Statue-Toppling, and other Iconoclasms," 25 June 2019 Signals that would appear on Earth as short, sharp bursts get far more smeared out on the moon. National Geographic, "First 'marsquake' detected by NASA lander," 23 Apr. 2019 Schrödinger’s first inclination was to suppose that the amplitude of his wave function at some point in space — equivalent to the height of a water wave, say — corresponds to the density of the smeared-out quantum particle at that point. Quanta Magazine, "Mysterious Quantum Rule Reconstructed From Scratch," 13 Feb. 2019 But FMTs smear the rules used for regulating standard drugs, which tend to have highly controlled, identifiable active ingredients that can be carefully quantified, formulated, standardized, and tested. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "One dead after poop transplant gone wrong, FDA warns," 14 June 2019 Richard Jones crouched in the snow outside a Chicago apartment building, blood smeared across his face. Elyssa Cherney, chicagotribune.com, "A former state ward is accused of killing a mental health worker in Chicago. Staff tried to raise safety concerns before his death.," 12 June 2019 The early weeks have smeared in memory: a steady flow of friends and relatives, an endless chain of diapering and feeding. Anndee Hochman, https://www.inquirer.com, "The Parent Trip: Latisha ‘Tish’ Johnson of Mt. Airy," 5 June 2019 The bags were smeared with grease to ward off drug-sniffing dogs, and workers poured 2 inches of oil to the bottom of the train car to deter U.S. inspectors from stepping inside. Nicole Hong, WSJ, "What El Chapo’s Trial Revealed: The Inner Workings of a $14 Billion Drug Empire," 12 Feb. 2019 On this day, priests and pastors smear ashes from the previous year's Palm Sunday palms on the attendees' foreheads. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Here's How the Date of Easter Is Determined Each Year," 22 Feb. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about smear

Dictionary Entries near smear

smattery

smaze

sm cap

smear

smearcase

smear dab

smear dock

Statistics for smear

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for smear

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on smear

What made you want to look up smear? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!