\ 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

Interior Detailer The interior of new vehicles is a complex multi-surface environment and often showcased by broad and glossy infotainment screens that get all smudged up with fingerprints and French-fry residue. San Diego Union-Tribune, "A little summer lovin’ for the care of cars and RVs," 21 July 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The lone smudge over those final four games was a 24-14 loss to Big Ten West champ Northwestern, but the Gophers still averaged 31.5 points against those teams while allowing just 14.75. Bob Sansevere, Twin Cities, "Bob Sansevere: Gophers’ aspirations and expectations survive, barely," 29 Aug. 2019 Filicudi, 27 miles away, is a smudge on the horizon, wearing a dollop of scudding cloud over its extinct volcano, Mount Fossa delle Felci, like an insouciant lace hat. Antonia Quirke, Condé Nast Traveler, "These Islands Near Sicily Might Be the Last Uncrowded Part of Italy," 22 Aug. 2019 Campbell said the smudge was landing gear from a Lockheed Model 10-E Electra. Julie Cohn,, "Finding Amelia Earhart’s plane seemed impossible. Then came a startling clue," 12 Aug. 2019 And as The New York Times’ Joanna Klein reports, the analysis could provide clues to how anesthetics work in humans—and further smudges the increasingly hazy line between plants and animals. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "What Sedated Plants Can Teach Scientists About Anesthetizing People," 7 Feb. 2018 Palmer wrote, the state turned to Lee’s blood-spatter expertise — and to his testimony about the smudge of blood on the towel. 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 But Bredar also pointed to a recent smudge on the department’s reputation — the arrest of Sgt. Jessica Anderson,, "Federal judge sees path forward for Baltimore’s beleaguered police force: ‘The first green shoots of spring’," 25 July 2019 Nails 17 Slides Few things are more cathartic than painting your own nails—and more infuriating than to have them chip or smudge minutes later. Glamour, "17 Ways You’re Accidentally Messing Up Your Nails," 12 Mar. 2019 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

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

28 Jul 2019

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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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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