\ˈsməj \
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 \ adverb
smudginess \ˈsmə-jē-nəs \ noun
smudgy \ˈsmə-jē \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for smudge

Synonyms: Verb

befoul, begrime, bemire, besmirch, blacken, daub, dirty, foul, grime, mire, muck, muddy, smirch, soil, stain, sully

Synonyms: Noun

blot, brand, slur, smirch, spot, stain, stigma, taint

Antonyms: Verb

clean, cleanse

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Examples of smudge in a Sentence


Don't smudge the picture with your dirty hands! His face was smudged with grease.


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

And the effect lasts all day — the formula is waterproof and wears without flaking or smudging up onto your lids. Elizabeth Siegel, Allure, "The June 2018 Allure x Kat Von D Beauty Box: See All the Product Samples You'll Get This Month," 14 May 2018 Alleven London's Colour Shield is the product that made Bey's skin look FaceTuned during her whole set, without streaking or smudging. Cara Kelly, USA TODAY, "Packing the ultimate weekender: Our favorite products for your carry-on or beach bag," 9 July 2018 Two performers share a pre-show kiss, barely touching so as not to smudge their flawless lipstick. NBC News, "On stage, Russian drag stars leave fears behind," 10 July 2018 Globs of polish just means longer drying time and a higher risk for smudging. Janell M. Hickman, SELF, "9 Ways to Not Ruin Your At-Home Manicure," 29 June 2018 And, for the love of god, the ink better not bleed or smudge until the end of the day. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "This Stamp Eyeliner Is The Coolest, Least-Gimmicky Thing I’ve Ever Tried," 25 May 2018 Case in point: His decision to gently plant a kiss on then-girlfriend Gisele Bündchen’s temple (instead of smudging her glossy pout). Grace Gavilanes,, "9 Years, 9 Photos of Tom Brady & Gisele Bündchen Making Out on the Met Gala Red Carpet," 8 May 2018 There are filters, brush tools, gradients, smudging, cropping and erasing tools. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "15 tech upgrades you can get for free," 15 June 2018 The ink has faded to brown over the years; the back of the page is smudged perhaps by food or fingertips. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "In its newly renovated property, Walters Art Museum honors a woman once enslaved there," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The only downside is that the glossy display makes for an excellent fingerprint-smudge collector. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Classic Maserati with a pinch of Chrysler: The Levante S GranSport, reviewed," 8 June 2018 The tracks were nearly litter-free; the gum-smudge-to-tile ratio is relatively low. Anne Kadet, WSJ, "This New York City Subway Station Gets Rave Reviews," 1 May 2018 This particular galactic protocluster, designated SPT2349-56, was first observed as a faint smudge in 2010 with the National Science Foundation's South Pole Telescope. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Distant galaxies will soon merge to become the biggest structure in the universe," 26 Apr. 2018 This person managed to write this neatly on a white board without making even one miniature smudge. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "10 Pictures Of Handwriting That Will Make You Feel Like You Fail At Life Completely," 14 Apr. 2015 If you're grossed out thinking about all the sweat from your body, just think about all the oil and makeup smudges that come off your face. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Test Your Housekeeping Knowledge: How Gross Are Your Cleaning Habits?," 10 July 2018 For a sizzling night out, Tessa Thompson lined her eyes with a gleaming charcoal smudge, while Rihanna worked her signature crimson pout and Priyanka Chopra swiped on a deep bordeaux stain for dinner with Nick Jonas. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The 10 Best Beauty Looks: Week of June 25, 2018," 26 June 2018 The Laguna Beach Police and Orange County Sheriff's Department, tipped off by Dalu and Heuberger, searched the former 800Xchange office and confirmed that the smudges on the light switch and the door jamb were indeed blood. James Vlahos, GQ, "The Mystery of the Killer Vacation," 18 Apr. 2018 One pale hairless gentleman repeatedly wipes at an invisible smudge on the table in front of him. Mary Horlock, Longreads, "The Camouflage Artist: Two Worlds Wars, Two Loves, and One Great Deception," 21 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near smudge






smudge pot


Statistics for smudge

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Time Traveler for smudge

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

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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 \

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

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Comments on smudge

What made you want to look up smudge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

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