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

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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

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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

Life is short, and what’s left of the fire in my incandescent anarcho-punk heart has been smothered enough. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "How to Cook Anything with a Torch," 8 Feb. 2019 Marybeth Tinning was convicted of murder in 1987 for smothering Tami Lynne. Chris Carola, Fox News, "Woman who killed daughter in '80s granted parole on 7th try," 16 July 2018 For years, Fernandez was beaten, shot with a BB gun, smothered with pepper spray, made to wear girl’s clothes to school, forced to eat his own vomit and locked in a small cabinet with a sock stuffed in his mouth, his brother testified. NBC News, "Death of Anthony Avalos has parallels to another child abuse case in L.A.," 8 July 2018 Salmon proved to be another stretch and a miss, nicely cooked but smothered with maple glaze that hung around like a clown at a birthday party. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: The Winchester British pub fires blanks on Broadway," 21 June 2018 Her entire nose, naturally, is fully covered in a brightening concealer, while her cheeks are painted with a darker contour color and her forehead is artfully smothered in what appears to be her true foundation shade. Andrea Park, Allure, "Kim Kardashian Tells Mommy-Shamers to Relax After Posting a Video of Daughter North Putting on Makeup," 14 Sep. 2018 The perfection of summer just waiting to be burst open with its juicy red fruit dripping down your face as your dangle your feet in a pool while smothered in sunscreen and floaties hug your arms. Melissa Farley, USA TODAY, "Adorable kid drops watermelon. We all feel the pain and relate to the struggle that is life," 2 July 2018 Jet fuel started small fires along the side of the road, which firefighters later smothered in a white sea of foam. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "‘A C-130 literally just dropped out of the sky:’ A deadly plane crash stuns drivers in Savannah," 3 May 2018 The post-mortem revealed the girl had been tortured, raped, strangled and smothered. Anchorage Daily News, "India approves death penalty for raping young girls in wake of 8-year-old’s brutal death," 22 Apr. 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.

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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

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Statistics for smother

Last Updated

9 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for smother

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

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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.

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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

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