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 Meanwhile, the public should hold the Biden Administration responsible if the anonymous smear campaign continues. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Russia Collusion Smear Returns," 2 May 2021 The pastries typically have a flaky crust and are filled with a generous smear of concentrated guava paste — an embodiment of tropical Caribbean flavor — and often with cheese, served glazed or dusted with powdered sugar. New York Times, "Von’s Essential Recipes," 22 Mar. 2021 English muffins are just as tasty with a simple smear of butter, jam, and a pinch of flaky salt. Sara Tane, Good Housekeeping, "2021 Is the Year of the English Muffin," 15 Mar. 2021 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Trump’s orders, and met several times with a Ukrainian lawmaker who released edited recordings of Biden in an effort to smear him before the election. Michael R. Sisak, Time, "Federal Agents Raid Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani's Home and Office," 29 Apr. 2021 Trump’s orders, and met several times with a Ukrainian lawmaker who released edited recordings of Biden in an effort to smear him before the election. Michael R. Sisak, chicagotribune.com, "Federal investigators execute search warrant at Rudy Giuliani’s home in New York City, official says," 28 Apr. 2021 Trump’s orders, and met several times with a Ukrainian lawmaker who released edited recordings of Biden in an effort to smear him before the election. Michael Balsamo, Anchorage Daily News, "Federal agents search Rudy Giuliani’s home and office in New York City," 28 Apr. 2021 Trump’s orders, and met several times with a Ukrainian lawmaker who released edited recordings of Biden in an effort to smear him before the election. BostonGlobe.com, "Federal investigators execute warrant at Rudy Giuliani’s NYC home and office," 28 Apr. 2021 Conservatives who would smear Peck and other proponents of anti-colonial analysis as oppressive cancel culturists are peddling a very old and popular product: the bliss of forgetting. Jo Livingstone, The New Republic, "Raoul Peck’s Exterminate All the Brutes Insists on Telling What Really Happened," 16 Apr. 2021 Prosecutor Matthew Frank argued that evidence from the 2019 arrest was prejudicial and an attempt to smear Floyd's character. CBS News, "2 jurors dismissed from Derek Chauvin trial after learning of $27 million settlement with George Floyd's family," 18 Mar. 2021 Then it was accused of being a grotesque attempt to smear cosmetics over the horrors of the Vietnam War. Judith Martin, WSJ, "‘Lady Bird Johnson’ Review: Behind the Smile," 12 Mar. 2021 Most seriously, authorities say, Greenberg attempted to smear an anti-River Cross activist who had planned to run against him for Tax Collector. Martin E. Comas, orlandosentinel.com, "Dorworth, Greenberg maneuvered behind the scenes on behalf of controversial housing development," 23 Apr. 2021

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

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Smear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smear. Accessed 15 May. 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

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

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