Origin and Etymology of smother
Middle English, alteration of smorther, from smoren to smother, from Old English smorian to suffocate; akin to Middle Dutch smoren to suffocate
First Known Use: 13th century
Definition of smother
smotheringplay \ˈsmə-thə-riŋ, ˈsməth-riŋ\
: to be overcome or killed through or as if through lack of air
1 : to overcome or kill with smoke or fumes
2a : to kill by depriving of airb : to overcome or discomfit through or as if through lack of airc : to suppress (a fire) by excluding oxygen
3a : to cause to smolderb : to suppress expression or knowledge of smothered his ragec : to stop or prevent the growth or activity of smother a child with too much care; also : overwhelmd : to cover thickly : blanket snow smothered the trailse : to overcome or vanquish quickly or decisively
4 : to cook in a covered pan or pot with little liquid over low heat
Examples of smother in a Sentence
He tried to smother her with a pillow.
She smothered the fire with a blanket.
First Known Use of smother
SMOTHER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of smother for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of smother for Students
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.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up smother? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).