\ ˈsməj How to pronounce smudge (audio) \
smudged; smudging

Definition of smudge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to make a smudge on
b : to soil as if by smudging
2a : to rub, daub, or wipe in a smeary manner
b : to make indistinct : blur smudged the writing
3 : to smoke or protect by means of a smudge

intransitive verb

1 : to make a smudge
2 : to become smudged



Definition of smudge (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a blurry spot or streak
b : an immaterial stain cleanse him of every last smudge of impropriety— Richard Hanser
c : an indistinct mass : blur
2 : a smoldering mass placed on the windward side (as to protect from frost)
3 : a bid of four in pitch that if made wins the game

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Other Words from smudge


smudgily \ ˈsmə-​jə-​lē How to pronounce smudge (audio) \ adverb
smudginess \ ˈsmə-​jē-​nəs How to pronounce smudge (audio) \ noun
smudgy \ ˈsmə-​jē How to pronounce smudge (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for smudge

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of smudge in a Sentence

Verb Don't smudge the picture with your dirty hands! His face was smudged with grease. Noun His hand left a grimy smudge on the wall. the president's spouse must not have the slightest smudge of scandal
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Anon lenses have anti-fog and smudge coatings to keep your vision clear. Popular Science, "Best snowboard goggles: Stay protected on the slopes," 23 Feb. 2021 Then the actress uses a slim, pointed eye blending brush to smudge out the liner. Kaitlyn Frey,, "Courteney Cox Shares the Quick 5-Minute Makeup Routine She Learned Because She's 'Always Late'," 22 Feb. 2021 The solution is to seek out a product that simply won't smudge, also known as waterproof mascara. Tatjana Freund, Marie Claire, "The Best Eye Makeup for Hooded Eyes, According to a Makeup Artist," 9 Feb. 2021 On set, she has been inspired by small hacks: a face mask designed to not smudge her makeup, the know-how of an on-site Covid-19 compliance officer. New York Times, "Lilly Singh’s Week: Pixar’s ‘Soul’ and ’90s Bollywood," 5 Jan. 2021 Knowing that, matte foundations may be the way to go because many of them are also transfer-proof, meaning the product won't smudge onto your mask. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, "The 11 Best Matte Foundations for a Smooth, Shine-Free Finish," 3 Jan. 2021 The trick is to smudge the lines between the game's reality and the rest of reality just enough, but not too far. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Meet the new generation of puzzle-makers bringing mystery to your door," 1 Dec. 2020 The Maricopa County Elections Department tweeted on Election Day that voting centers use Sharpies so that ink does not smudge when ballots are counted. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Interfaith solidarity, sick election workers, #Sharpiegate: News from around our 50 states," 6 Nov. 2020 Ballpoint ink can smudge onto optical readers or other ballots, creating issues, the county said. Jen Fifield, The Arizona Republic, "Court hearing today for Maricopa County voter who used Sharpie on ballot and says she wasn't allowed to vote," 5 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Basically, a shadow root, also called a root smudge, is when your stylist goes back over your highlights or fresh color with a shade closer to your natural shade. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "Shadow Root Hair Is the Coolest Low-Maintenance Trend for 2021," 23 Feb. 2021 These goggles have an amazing ability to quickly interchange their high-contrast lenses protected with smudge, scratch, anti-fog, and moisture-resistant coating. Popular Science, "Best snowboard goggles: Stay protected on the slopes," 23 Feb. 2021 The work shows a man on a crooked path, in an unsteady green landscape, walking toward dogs, one of which has a smudge of paint for a nose. Ian Parker, The New Yorker, "Every Nicole Eisenman Picture Tells a Story," 22 Feb. 2021 In response to the deadly virus, the Vatican enacted new guidance for Ash Wednesday back in January, asking priests to forego the usual methods of individual blessings and a smudge of ash on the forehead of each congregant. Editors, USA TODAY, "Brutal winter weather, Trump Plaza, pandemic job losses: 5 things you need to know Wednesday," 17 Feb. 2021 The rich formula delivers a bright and uniform tone that's completely smudge-proof, and my lipstick-game has never been stronger. Jorie Nicole Mcdonald, Southern Living, "After Trying This $13 Liquid Lipstick, I’ll Never Use Anything Else," 7 Feb. 2021 Her cheeks are asymmetrically coated in a rusty shade of blush, and her cut crease has a punky, unblended look that works quite well with the unapologetic smudge of blue next to her eye and the flecks of black liner under her lashes. Marci Robin, Allure, "Charlize Theron Let Her Daughter Do Her Makeup," 28 Oct. 2020 At a time when smudge sticks are sold in Urban Outfitters and young women cosplay as, well, characters from The Craft, the idea that the four teen witches in this film are outcasts or misfits is a much tougher sell. Kim Wong-shing, Glamour, "The Craft: Legacy Is Full of Clever Nods to the Original," 28 Oct. 2020 In 1948 an enterprising young chemist named Hazel Bishop developed a lipstick that wouldn’t smear during a kiss or leave a smudge on the lip of a drinking glass. Andrew Delbanco, The New York Review of Books, "Night Terrors," 3 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'smudge.' 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 smudge


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


circa 1774, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for smudge


Middle English smogen

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Time Traveler for smudge

Time Traveler

The first known use of smudge was in the 15th century

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Statistics for smudge

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Smudge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for smudge



English Language Learners Definition of smudge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make a dirty mark, spot, streak, etc., on (something)
: to become blurry and unclear by being touched or rubbed
: to make (something) blurry or unclear by touching or rubbing it



English Language Learners Definition of smudge (Entry 2 of 2)

: a dirty mark, spot, streak, etc.


\ ˈsməj How to pronounce smudge (audio) \

Kids Definition of smudge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a blurred spot or streak : smear
2 : a smoky fire (as to drive away mosquitoes)


smudged; smudging

Kids Definition of smudge (Entry 2 of 2)

: to soil or blur by rubbing or smearing

More from Merriam-Webster on smudge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smudge

Nglish: Translation of smudge for Spanish Speakers

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