1

smother

noun smoth·er \ ˈsmə-t͟hər \
Updated on: 7 Dec 2017

Definition of smother

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

play \ˈsmə-t͟hə-rē, ˈsmət͟h-rē\ adjective

Recent Examples of smother from the Web

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.

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


2

smother

verb

Definition of smother

smothered; smothering play \ˈsmə-t͟hə-riŋ, ˈsmət͟h-riŋ\
intransitive verb
: to be overcome or killed through or as if through lack of air
transitive verb
1 : to overcome or kill with smoke or fumes
2 a : to kill by depriving of air
b : to overcome or discomfit through or as if through lack of air
c : to suppress (a fire) by excluding oxygen
3 a : to cause to smolder
b : to suppress expression or knowledge of
  • smothered his rage
c : to stop or prevent the growth or activity of
  • smother a child with too much care
; also : overwhelm
d : to cover thickly : blanket
  • snow smothered the trails
e : 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

  1. He tried to smother her with a pillow.

  2. She smothered the fire with a blanket.

Recent Examples of smother from the Web

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.

First Known Use of smother

circa 1520

smother Synonyms


SMOTHER Defined for English Language Learners

smother

verb

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

smother

verb smoth·er \ ˈsmə-t͟hər \

Definition of smother for Students

smothered; smothering
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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