\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, 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

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 There are quite a few ways to clean your stones, including soaking them in salt water (more on salt soon), bathing them in moonlight, or smudging them (see above). Alyssa Nassner, Curbed, "Cleansing 101: Keeping your home’s energy in check," 17 Oct. 2018 There are a few makeup mishaps that most beauty lovers have likely experienced at least once: A cat-eye smudged into oblivion, red lipstick all over your teeth, and — perhaps the most frustrating of all — self-tanner fails. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Woman Shares Foot Self-Tanner Fail," 17 Oct. 2018 Now the young doctor is often shaken awake by a nightmare in which his kids are huddling at the bottom of a cliff, their faces smudged with dirt, calling to him to hoist them up. Yanan Wang And Dake Kang, Fox News, "China distances children from families to subdue Muslim west," 20 Sep. 2018 Hide the evidence with a matte shadow smudged to perfection. Samantha Sasso,, "Rihanna's Makeup Tutorial Is The Only One You Need For Summer," 3 May 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Near the tip of the Hunter’s sword, lurking some 1,350 light years from Earth, the nebula looks like a mere smudge in the sky. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Take a Breathtaking Trip Through the Orion Nebula in NASA’s New Video," 15 Jan. 2018 The sage smudge stick is sitting stale in a drawer. Anne-marie Yerks, House Beautiful, "My House Was Hiding a Tragic Secret — And I Needed to Know the Truth," 15 Oct. 2015 Eventually the ballet dancers, all oddly costumed by Linda Cho in casual clothes with paint-rag smudges, don hard tap shoes and toy with tap moves that begin in silence and segue into more Ellington. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "‘ABT Women’s Movement’ Review: Creative Empowerment," 23 Oct. 2018 Tsuruga castle, a modern replica of the 14th-century structure that was the last bastion of samurai warriors, appeared as a chalky smudge on a hill. Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, "Slow Skiing in Japan's Deep North," 11 Oct. 2018 Oh, yeah, people were walking down the street with green and orange smudges on their shirt. Hope Reese, Vox, "The author of Dopesick on how we’re still failing opioid users," 14 Aug. 2018 Items confirmed to be available for purchase in the launch include a brand new smudge-free black eyeliner, Cranberry Stiletto Matte Lip Whip, and Eyelash Icing Waterproof Mascara. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Beauty Bakerie Cosmetics Is Coming to Ulta," 3 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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Learn More about smudge

Dictionary Entries near smudge






smudge pot


Statistics for smudge

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

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 \

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

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