smother

verb
smoth·​er | \ ˈsmə-t͟hər How to pronounce smother (audio) \
smothered; smothering\ ˈsmə-​t͟hə-​riŋ How to pronounce smothering (audio) , ˈsmət͟h-​riŋ \

Definition of smother

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to kill by depriving of air
b : to suppress (a fire) by excluding oxygen
c : to overcome or discomfit through or as if through lack of air
2a : to suppress expression or knowledge of smothered his rage
b : to stop or prevent the growth or activity of smother a child with too much care also : overwhelm
c : to cover thickly : blanket snow smothered the trails
d : to overcome or vanquish quickly or decisively
e : to cause to smolder
3 : to overcome or kill with smoke or fumes
4 : to cook in a covered pan or pot with little liquid over low heat

intransitive verb

: to be overcome or killed through or as if through lack of air

smother

noun

Definition of smother (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : thick stifling smoke or smudge
b : a state of being stifled or suppressed
2 : a dense cloud (as of fog or dust)
3 : a confused multitude of things : welter

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from smother

Noun

smothery \ ˈsmə-​t͟hə-​rē How to pronounce smothery (audio) , ˈsmət͟h-​rē \ adjective

Synonyms for smother

Synonyms: Verb

choke, stifle, strangle, suffocate

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of smother in a Sentence

Verb

He tried to smother her with a pillow. She smothered the fire with a blanket.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Halftime: Sweden 0, Switzerland 0 Switzerland had the better offense, but Sweden’s smothering defense was up to the challenge. The Associated Press, New York Times, "Sweden Makes World Cup Quarterfinals for First Time Since 1994," 5 July 2018 Multiply that by 240 and just twelve bombers could deal a crippling blow to an invasion force, smothering it with nearly ten thousand shots. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Pentagon Is Reviving Cold War “Assault Breaker” Concept to Thwart China, Russia," 4 Mar. 2019 An Indiana woman who injected her husband with a lethal dose of heroin before smothering him with a pillow may be responsible for nine other deaths -- and is suspected of serving her lover's remains to unsuspecting neighbors at a barbecue. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Woman who injected husband with lethal dose of heroin may have killed 9 others, served lover's remains at BBQ," 11 May 2018 What to try: The classics include the Baby Ray (three pieces of chicken smothered with gravy and onions and two waffles); and the Momma White's (one piece of chicken prepared Southern style with grits, two eggs, home fries and toast). Kellie Hwang, azcentral, "It's National Fried Chicken Day! Phoenix restaurants for best fried chicken," 6 July 2018 Almost the whole of Florida is alligator habitat, and the state is smothered with housing developments rimming the shores of tens of thousands of lakes, ponds, river, canals and other waterways gators call home. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Wildlife is wild, so admire from afar," 13 June 2018 In one of the shots, Kylie leans over Stormi and smothers her (figuratively, of course) in love and kisses. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kylie Jenner and Baby Stormi Are Twinning in Matching Outfits on Their Snow-Filled Vacation," 9 Dec. 2018 Once that’s involved, add a slightly larger piece of wood, making sure not to smother your twigs and branches. Ross Mccammon, Popular Mechanics, "How to Build the Perfect Fireplace Fire," 30 Nov. 2018 Mulching and Watering Apply mulch to smother weeds, which compete with the young spears and reduce yields. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow Garden-Fresh Asparagus," 19 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The 40-minute mindset, the smother-ous defense, the varied scoring options. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc: Georgia State game was the best and worst of UC basketball," 16 Mar. 2018 Excessive moisture smothers and kills roots, leading to discolored and dying foliage. Debbie Arrington, sacbee, "Spray or drip irrigation: Which way is best for your garden?," 20 Oct. 2017 Smothers, who lived in the unit block of Osborne Road, was pronounced dead at the scene. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Charges dropped in 2016 Aberdeen double homicide," 25 Aug. 2017 Smothers remains in critical condition at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "Firefighters describe critically injured colleague as humble future leader," 10 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'smother.' 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 smother

Verb

circa 1520, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for smother

Noun

Middle English, alteration of smorther, from smoren to smother, from Old English smorian to suffocate; akin to Middle Dutch smoren to suffocate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about smother

Statistics for smother

Last Updated

18 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for smother

The first known use of smother was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for smother

smother

verb

English Language Learners Definition of smother

: to kill (someone) by covering the face so that breathing is not possible
: to cover (something) in order to keep it from growing or spreading
: to try to keep (something) from happening : to try to stop doing (something)

smother

verb
smoth·​er | \ ˈsmə-t͟hər How to pronounce smother (audio) \
smothered; smothering

Kids Definition of smother

1 : to kill or injure by keeping from getting air or by exposing to smoke or fumes : suffocate
2 : to become suffocated
3 : to keep from growing or developing by or as if by covering smother a fire … anguish smothered her smallest joy.— Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising
4 : to keep from happening : suppress I tried to smother a yawn.
5 : to cover thickly The salad was smothered with dressing.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on smother

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with smother

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smother

Spanish Central: Translation of smother

Nglish: Translation of smother for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smother for Arabic Speakers

Comments on smother

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!