\ 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 smudgily (audio) \ adverb
smudginess \ ˈsmə-​jē-​nəs How to pronounce smudginess (audio) \ noun
smudgy \ ˈsmə-​jē How to pronounce smudgy (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 Gently blot away any excess nail polish with a paper towel, taking extra care not to smudge the existing stain or spread the polish to a larger area. Natalie Schumann, Country Living, "How to Get Nail Polish out of Your Carpet," 13 Dec. 2019 But Brooks, with eye black smudged on his cheeks, lingered. Nicole Yang,, "Inside the Patriots locker room after their season-ending loss to Titans," 5 Jan. 2020 Now, one is smudging slightly, a droopy black blob marred with sweat — the team has been doing laps, testing their speed. Nicole Blackwood,, "‘We’re like the forgotten people’: Chicago Riots junior roller derby offers rough-and-tumble community of acceptance," 18 July 2019 Less than 24 hours after the Polarstern settled in, the ship's emissions were smudging the ice. Shannon Hall, Science | AAAS, "How to erase a ship—Arctic researchers work to eliminate their vessel’s fingerprints," 13 Nov. 2019 While greeting well-wishers at Westminster Abbey yesterday, Meghan Markle accidentally smudged her makeup on a veteran's jacket. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Smudged Her Makeup on a Fan's Coat and He Reacted in the Best Way," 8 Nov. 2019 The park was alive with sunlight and flowers; the worst of the wildfires were over but smoke still smudged the horizon. Longreads, "Tramp Like Us," 18 Sep. 2019 And still Robinson sat, a blank look on a face smudged with eye black. Colleen Kane,, "Bears fail completely, from missed throws to drops to a last-minute muff: ‘It is heartbreaking and crushing to this locker room'," 3 Nov. 2019 Strickland squeezed her eyes shut, wetness smudging her mascara. Lizzie Presser, ProPublica, "When Medical Debt Collectors Decide Who Gets Arrested," 16 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That being said, the microfiber cloth is always useful for clearing off smudges, and the brushes should keep your ports clean for a long time to come. Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored, "Clean ports and smudges with OtterBox's mobile device care kit," 6 Dec. 2019 Not even duchesses are immune to the inevitable makeup smudge. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Smudged Her Makeup on a Fan's Coat and He Reacted in the Best Way," 8 Nov. 2019 But at least for one day, the residents of Napakiak didn't have to worry about the erosion creeping ever closer to their homes, and instead could focus on the smiles or even smudges of chocolate from the ice cream sundaes on their children's faces. Mark Thiessen, Anchorage Daily News, "Santa and soldiers bring joy to Western Alaska village with an erosion crisis," 11 Dec. 2019 Landing on a dot of coral, surrounded by so much water, with no smudge of neighboring land outlined against the distant horizon, is a first for me. Rebecca Misner, Condé Nast Traveler, "Island Hopping in French Polynesia," 15 Nov. 2019 The case took a darker turn when Dalu discovered what looked like smudges of human blood on the light switch, baseboard, ceiling and door casing in Smith’s old San Juan Capistrano office. Christine Pelisek,, "What Happened to Young Tech Entrepreneur After His Emails Abruptly Stopped?," 11 Nov. 2019 The sea and sky were the same shade of blue, the horizon an almost imperceptible smudge of yellow haze. Ben Ehrenreich, The New Republic, "Inside the effort to rescue Europe’s unwelcome immigrants," 17 Oct. 2019 Mets manager Gil Hodges came out to argue, noting that a smudge of black shoe polish was on the baseball. Creg Stephenson |, al, "Mobile’s Cleon Jones to celebrate 50th anniversary of ‘Miracle Mets’ with charity golf tournament," 26 Sep. 2019 My first day in red lipstick was spent overcompensating for my self-consciousness: eating carefully, drinking with a straw, keeping exactly three Q-tips handy to fix any smudges. Talia Abbas, SELF, "13 Things I Learned When I Wore Red Lipstick Every Day for a Week," 17 Oct. 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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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

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Smudge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for smudge


How to pronounce smudge (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on smudge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smudge

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with smudge

Spanish Central: Translation of smudge

Nglish: Translation of smudge for Spanish Speakers

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