\ 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

Dishonest smears like these are used against almost every American Muslim who exercises their right to serve their country. Paul Gattis |, al, "Roy Moore: Omar should go back ‘from whence she came’," 28 Aug. 2019 Amid global concern about raging fires in the Amazon, Brazil’s government complained Thursday that it is being targeted in smear campaign by critics who contend President Jair Bolsonaro is not doing enough to curb widespread deforestation. Marcelo Silva De Sousa,, "The Amazon rainforest is on fire. The president of Brazil is defiant, suggesting the fires were set by groups who dislike him.," 23 Aug. 2019 There really was a scheme to protect Hillary Rodham Clinton from being indicted and smear and slander then candidate and president-elect Donald Trump and now president at all costs. Fox News, "Two FBI agents sought to 'stop' Trump," 18 June 2018 The logic is perfectly circular: Trump and congressional Republicans are using the smear of anti-Semitism to attack Omar and Tlaib, which makes Trump’s opponents the enemies of the enemies of anti-Semitism, which makes them anti-Semites. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "The Weaponization of National Belonging, from Nazi Germany to Trump," 21 July 2019 The keys to a great BLT: Bread that is sturdy enough to handle the juicy ripe tomatoes, quality bacon, crispy lettuce and generous smears of high-quality mayonnaise. Ann Maloney,, "Dig into the red, ripe Creole Tomato Fest this weekend," 5 June 2019 One of the latest examples, the appalling smears of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Fox News, "Ingraham: The new American left: agents of hatred," 12 Sep. 2018 Portions of media and fans took that as evidence of Hill’s innocence and a smear campaign led by Espinal. Robert Klemko,, "How One Agent Is Working to Strengthen Diversity in the NFL’s Head Coaching Ranks," 15 July 2019 Ali Alexander, who previously went by Ali Akbar, a right-wing personality, who promoted a smear campaign alleging Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., was not African American. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, "Trump's social media summit is stacked with conservative voices. Here's who was invited," 11 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Eaton provides us with a perfect example of how to smear someone by wrenching words out of context. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Where’s the Outrage at the Smear of Roger Scruton?," 17 July 2019 Lacking any persuasive political arguments, the right has decided to smear the students. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Smearing Parkland Students Is a Symptom of the Right’s Ideological Exhaustion," 28 Mar. 2018 Their goal was to conduct a circus-like tour of Palestinian sites in which international journalists would help them smear Israel as an oppressor. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "Banning Omar and Tlaib May Help Trump, but It Hurts Israel," 16 Aug. 2019 Last month, Glendale police said someone smeared an unknown brown, sticky substance on the the statue. Mark Kellam, Glendale News-Press, "Musical centering on plights of comfort women, a topic with local significance, opens in Los Angeles," 16 Aug. 2019 There’s a case to be made that the original Woodstock and its periodic remakes have smeared far too much icing on the cake. James Sullivan,, "There could only be one Woodstock," 15 Aug. 2019 There are so many crave-worthy possibilities that can be launched from the simple base of creamy ricotta cheese smeared onto toasted bread, ideally just-toasted so the residual heat of it warms the cheese a little. Ellie Krieger, Washington Post, "Ricotta toast with peaches and pistachios is the summer snack you didn’t know you needed," 8 Aug. 2019 The lawsuit was filed to intimidate and smear my name and my reputation. Jeanne Houck,, "Judge dismisses Madeira lawsuit to stop critic from repeatedly suing city," 1 Aug. 2019 The deception has entangled the United States military, defrauded thousands of victims and smeared the reputations of soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines. Casey Newton, The Verge, "It’s time to regulate tech platforms with laws, not fines," 30 July 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.

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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

1 Sep 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

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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