\ 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

befoul, begrime, bemire, besmirch, blacken, daub, dirty, distain [archaic], foul, gaum [dialect], grime, mire, muck, muddy, smirch, soil, stain, sully

Synonyms: Noun

blot, brand, onus, 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

But recently, renewed interest in them — both as a design object and a functional vessel for everything from joint remnants to smudge sticks — has piqued among many in the spheres of art, craft, and design., "Why Are Ashtrays Trending Again? Well, We'll Be Blunt...," 11 July 2018 Even boutique bar soap ain’t cheap: Saturdays NYC Moisturizing Bar Soap, made by a men's wear label, is $20 and Binu Binu Shaman Black Charcoal Soap is $18 (yes, charcoal — that which used to smudge chimney sweeps). Tyler Watamanuk, New York Times, "When Did Soap, Once Simple, Get So Complicated?," 11 July 2018 Instead of trying to smudge the makeup with your finger, just lightly rub the primer over your crease-y and patchy areas, then dab and blend the makeup back into place (or erase it from your face). Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "WORTH IT: The 5 Insanely Good Beauty Products I'm Loving This Week," 18 May 2018 The default Pixel shot actually does an admirable job — most other phones would smudge the text to smithereens in such challenging conditions — but the night mode completely overhauls the photo. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Google’s Night Sight for Pixel phones will amaze you," 25 Oct. 2018 The good news is that the Seattle court, when finally reached by Corsano, again has relieved him of responsibility for the tickets (smudging away this haunting for the second time). Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, "A ‘ghost’ Jaguar haunts on — and other stories from a year that drove around in circles," 31 Dec. 2018 Make the Coral Winged Shadow Happen For Ellis Ross' eye makeup, Storey smudged on the Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Eye Shadow in Bette (a gold) to create a shimmery base. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Tracee Ellis Ross Matched Her Lipstick to Her Fuchsia Dress for the Emmy Awards 2018," 17 Sep. 2018 Without clumping, flaking, or smudging, my lashes are instantly transformed. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "This Maybelline Mascara Is So Good, I Call It the Drugstore Diorshow," 16 Nov. 2018 As helpful as smudging, sound, or crystals may be, the energy of your space will be most affected by you. Alyssa Nassner, Curbed, "Cleansing 101: Keeping your home’s energy in check," 17 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At Brock Collection, makeup artist Gucci Westman accented sharp, inky lines along the upper and lower lash lines with smudges of charcoal pigment, while Maryam Nassir Zadeh enhanced thin, razor-sharp flicks by adding a backdrop of cerulean shadow. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "7 Beauty Trends That Ruled the New York Runways This Weekend," 11 Feb. 2019 To cleanse the space of negative vibes, Stassi lit a sage smudge stick and placed it in the center of our circle. Nicole Dellert, Glamour, "Why I Held a Pre-Wedding Ceremony to Banish All My Exes From My Life," 2 Aug. 2018 To cleanse the space of negative vibes, Stassi lit a sage smudge stick and placed it in the center of our circle. Nicole Dellert, Glamour, "Why I Held a Pre-Wedding Ceremony to Banish All My Exes From My Life," 2 Aug. 2018 To cleanse the space of negative vibes, Stassi lit a sage smudge stick and placed it in the center of our circle. Nicole Dellert, Allure, "Why I Held a Pre-Wedding Ceremony to Banish All My Exes' Dicks From My Life," 12 May 2018 Qualcomm developed a 3D Sonic Sensor, an in-display ultrasonic sensor for authenticating smartphone users via their fingerprints, and through smudges on the glass. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 855 mobile chip as it readies for 5G," 4 Dec. 2018 Covered up are the margin’s graphite marks and smudges. Lance Esplund, WSJ, "‘The Condition of Being Here: Drawings by Jasper Johns’ Review: Willfully Obtuse," 12 Nov. 2018 However, the Slate's back collects fingerprints and smudges like my 10-year-old self collected Pokemon cards, so don't expect the metal to stay pristine for long. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Pixel Slate review: Paying the “Google” premium for Chrome OS," 29 Nov. 2018 It's extremely worn for a six-year-old building, with cracks, black smudges and what looks like rust and mold. Jason Wilson,, "What I learned about America's future from visiting Trump resorts around the world," 14 Mar. 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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Learn More about smudge

Dictionary Entries near smudge






smudge pot


Statistics for smudge

Last Updated

10 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with smudge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smudge

Spanish Central: Translation of smudge

Nglish: Translation of smudge for Spanish Speakers

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).


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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