smother

1 of 2

verb

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

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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
smothery
ˈsmə-t͟hə-rē How to pronounce smother (audio)
ˈsmət͟h-rē
adjective

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
In extreme cases, the piles of clippings can smother turf. Megan Hughes, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 June 2024 Elsewhere, historicism and modernity collided between a 2020 Richard Quinn outfit, smothered in crystals and Swarovski pearls recalling the historical button embroidery of East London’s Pearl Kings, and a Marc Jacobs modernist knotted dress from his spring 2023 collection. Tiziana Cardini, Vogue, 20 June 2024
Noun
Sediment smothers underwater life and clouds waters, preventing sunlight from reaching plants and animals, destroying ecosystems. Scott Dance, Washington Post, 29 June 2024 However, the ongoing war and its sociopolitical ramifications threaten to further smother the already dwindling Christian presence on both sides of a broken Holy Land. Timothy H.j. Nerozzi Fox News, Fox News, 27 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for smother 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'smother.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

Verb

circa 1520, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near smother

Cite this Entry

“Smother.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smother. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

smother

verb
smoth·​er
ˈsmət͟h-ər
smothered; smothering
-(ə-)riŋ
1
: to be overcome or killed through lack of air
2
: to overcome or kill by depriving of air or exposing to smoke or fumes
3
a
: to prevent the development or actions of
smother a child with too much care
b
: to cover up : suppress
smother a yawn
c
: to cover thickly
steak smothered with mushrooms

More from Merriam-Webster on smother

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