\ 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

Neither is prepared to smudge Mrs May’s restrictive red lines of leaving the single market, customs union and European Court of Justice. The Economist, "Britain’s Brexit debate regresses to 2016," 4 July 2019 There was an ambitious arriviste, who smudged the line between confident and cocky. Jon Wertheim And Jacob Feldman,, "The Incomparable Life and Mysterious Death of Suzanne Lenglen," 27 June 2019 Emulate her easy-to-ID signature ombre pink and blue pigtails from Margot Robbie's portrayal of the supervillain in Suicide Squad, and don't forget to smudge your eyes with pink and blue eye shadow to match the hair. Cameron Glover, Allure, "11 Halloween Costumes That You Can Do With Just a Wig," 9 Oct. 2018 Angelic Readers Readers continue to generously inundate me with solutions for Sharon F., who yearned for a mascara that wouldn’t run or smudge, leaving her with raccoon eyes: Anna C. suggests Clinique Lash Power Mascara. Ellen Warren,, "Sandal season: Scratchy thong solution and the truth about summer stockings," 6 June 2019 Keep drawing hashtags and smudging it out to get a darker, smokier look. Editors, Seventeen, "50 Life-Changing Prom Beauty Tips You Haven't Heard Before," 19 Dec. 2018 This creates dimension and also helps to smudge it all out. Glamour, "This Easy Eyeliner Trick Finally Helped Me Nail a Smoky Eye," 15 Mar. 2019 The first photo is a sea of chromatic noise, smudged up by noise reduction blur working overtime to produce a somewhat reasonable image. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Google’s Night Sight for Pixel phones will amaze you," 25 Oct. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That soothing sapphire expanse does reveal some of the whirling chaos below in the form of cloudy bands and massive gyres that look like dark smudges on its surface. National Geographic, "Neptune, explained," 28 Mar. 2019 By Meagan Flynn | The Washington Post The towel, found hanging next to the bathroom sink, was stained with a small reddish smudge. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "An expert’s testimony about a bloody towel helped win murder convictions. But it wasn’t blood.," 18 June 2019 The gold theme continued with abstract smudges of gleaming powder on Aina's fingers, and hints of gold shimmer on her eyes. Marci Robin, Allure, "Jackie Aina's Essence Digital Cover Is an Ethereal Dream Come True for Fans," 6 June 2019 Those fleeting smudges offer clues to a planet’s size and orbit, which scientists can use to figure out what faraway worlds must be like. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "Dear Kepler: How you wrung worlds from the cosmos and changed my life," 7 Mar. 2019 Nothing spoils a crisp summer outfit more than wearing white Converse sneakers covered with stains, smudges, and scuffs. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean White Converse Sneakers, According to the Experts," 20 May 2019 But researchers only recently noticed the tattoos, which look like faint smudges under natural light. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Earliest Figural Tattoos Discovered on 5,000-Year-Old Mummies," 5 Mar. 2018 The trend, which looks just as good as an imperfect painterly smudge, is for amateurs and skilled makeup enthusiasts alike. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "6 Game-Changing Makeup Ideas for 2019, According to a Celebrity Makeup Artist," 21 Jan. 2019 If smudges or raccoon eyes are your problem, on the other hand, Eyeko's new waterproof 'Yoga' formula, named for its flexible, ultra stretch fibers, provides serious heft without clumps. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "5 New Black Mascaras You Need in Your Life This Fall," 17 Aug. 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

14 Jul 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

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to form ideas or theories about something

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