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

They could be turned into chips to make crepe chilaquiles or smothered with jerk sausage and Fontina. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "These are the best restaurants in Tempe," 6 Aug. 2019 Chicken is rubbed with sumac, cinnamon and allspice and served on top of flatbread baked in a clay oven, then drenched in rich, fruity olive oil and smothered with caramelised onions and fried almonds. The Economist, "How to eat well while living under siege," 2 Aug. 2019 Try the galinha à Africana—baked chicken smothered with a savory sauce combining chili peppers, peanuts, coconut, and spices—and a bowl of caldo verde, a classic Portuguese soup spiced up with kale and Chinese sausage. Erik R. Trinidad, National Geographic, "Find traditional eats in modern Macau," 8 Apr. 2019 The real Bears showed up in the fourth quarter and are headed to Seattle to smother the Huskies again. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Pac-12 power ratings: The overreaction edition is back (Week One is all about jumping to conclusions)," 2 Sep. 2019 In popular mythology, the government is portrayed as a monster, seizing private property through taxation, or as a smothering mother, the infamous nanny state. Astra Taylor, The New Republic, "One for All," 26 Aug. 2019 Houghton telegraphed her kick and it was smothered by Naeher. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "One more game for U.S. women, who will play for World Cup title," 2 July 2019 Meanwhile, Mass Effect launched on Xbox 360 with so many glitches, so much loading time, and so much slowdown that our own review was smothered in asterisks and caveats. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s favorite video games from our first 10 years, 1998-2008," 20 Aug. 2019 The One Major Misconception About It: That these protests are all about China and its attempt at smothering Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms. Ian Bremmer, Time, "What Happens Next in the Hong Kong Protests," 16 Aug. 2019

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

21 Sep 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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