\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Endless blue skies and stretches of open freeway, the edges smudged with orange poppies and wild buckwheat and tumbles of pink and purple bougainvillea. Tejal Rao, New York Times, "Dining and Driving on the Empty Freeways of Los Angeles," 31 Mar. 2020 There were gas stations every few blocks, and the sky was smudged with brown exhaust. Christine Smallwood, Harper's Magazine, "In Harm’s Way," 30 Mar. 2020 On a recent day, Valeria sat on a bench in the migrant shelter, wiping tears from her face, trying not to smudge thick cradles of eyeliner under her eyes. Rafael Carranza, USA TODAY, "Trump targeted Central American migrants. But now, violence and fear are driving more Mexicans to the US.," 1 Mar. 2020 On the eyes, Mullin outlined with the Smooth Silk Eye Pencil in 12 and smudged it out for a smokier effect. Kristin Corpuz, Billboard, "Here Are All the Details Behind Cynthia Erivo's Glamorous 2020 Oscars Look," 10 Feb. 2020 There were gas stations every few blocks, and the sky was smudged with brown exhaust. Christine Smallwood, Harper's Magazine, "In Harm’s Way," 30 Mar. 2020 The popular color seemed illogical considering the smudging gray desert winds that regularly blew through. Brandon Presser, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Visit Uzbekistan, A Country Undergoing a Tourism Renaissance," 24 Feb. 2020 The blue-gray Pacific was clear far out to where a fogbank smudged the horizon. John Dos Passos, Harper's magazine, "The Most Hated Nation," 2 Mar. 2020 The other was hand-drawn by a second grader and laminated to keep the pencil from smudging. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "Teen comic book artist from Goshen gains national attention with 'Adventures of Fro-Man'," 23 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The panel features anti-smudge and anti-reflective features. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Dell goes big with the XPS 17's debut: Everything you need to know," 13 May 2020 Above the small white writing desk, stacked with art history books, a few scarlet smudges dotted the blinds. Dallas Morning News, "Texas law enforcement uses hypnosis to investigate crimes. Does it uncover the truth?," 8 Apr. 2020 There’s also the simple aesthetic annoyance of looking at a screen that’s covered in fingerprints and other oily smudges that are part of life with a smartphone. David Nield, Popular Science, "Your smartphone is gross. Learn how to clean it properly.," 27 Mar. 2020 The brand also claims the pencil is smudge-proof and long-wearing. Jessica Kasparian, USA TODAY, "20 beauty products people are obsessed with at Ulta," 13 Mar. 2020 Spills and smudges are marks of a party well thrown and well enjoyed. Rachel King, Fortune, "This Party Kit Startup’s New Hotline Could Save the Day This Holiday Season," 14 Nov. 2019 As priests moved through the Life Care Center on February 26, dabbing smudges of ash on foreheads for Ash Wednesday, the virus was sweeping through as well. Michael Hendrix, National Review, "How a Washington State Nursing Home Became the Center of the COVID-19 Pandemic," 24 Mar. 2020 After an hour, my cactus resembled a fat green hand, the pot a big blue smudge. Brendan Fitzgerald, Longreads, "“I miss my body when it was ferocious” The Transfiguration of Paul Curreri," 14 Mar. 2020 From the tallest peak in Hawaii to a high plateau in the Andes, some of the biggest telescopes on Earth will point towards a faint smudge of light over the next few weeks. Alexandra Witze, Scientific American, "Two Interstellar Intruders Are Upending Astronomy," 27 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about smudge

Time Traveler for smudge

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for smudge

Last Updated

4 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Smudge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!