smugger; smuggest
: highly self-satisfied
: trim or smart in dress : spruce
: scrupulously clean, neat, or correct : tidy
smugly adverb
smugness noun

Examples of smug in a Sentence

Meanwhile, supporters are smug and righteous that the person who manages the world's leading stock exchange deserves every million. Susan Lee, Wall Street Journal, 10 Sept. 2003
Alice Norcross Pratt, a local stay-at-home mom, is portrayed as smug and pious, yet we also see glimmers of her hidden longings. Elizabeth Graver, New York Times Book Review, 27 May 2001
Once, Roy dared shooters to beat him with a shot between his legs. Now, he no longer passes out such smug invitations. The goalie who transformed the butterfly technique into an art form has humbly decided to keep his skates a little closer together … Mark Kiszla, ESPN, 28 May 2001
She was tall and beautiful and multilingual and fiercely opinionated. One of her opinions held that the rags that passed for literary magazines on campus were so smug and tame and insular that it was hopeless to even try to reform them; they simply needed to be replaced. Tom Perrotta, Joe College, 2000
It's OK to celebrate your success, but try not to be too smug about it. You can wipe that smug look off your face. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Even at its height, Playboy seemed to have a smug self-importance that gave the finger to the common man. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 5 Sep. 2023 Bennett plays Pat, an out-of-shape, average office Joe who vows to run a marathon against his smug, uber-fit boss Spencer, played by McHale. Sophia Scorziello, Variety, 4 Sep. 2023 In Wildcat, Ethan Hawke’s drama about Flannery O’Connor that premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on Friday, a smug white woman (Laura Linney) riding a city bus gives a Black child a penny. Rebecca Keegan, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2023 Finally, the controversial square pug nose of old has been freshened with a new grille and wraparound headlamps that present kind of a smug grin to the wind. Frank Markus, Car and Driver, 31 Aug. 2023 Why choose a vague word as the smug shorthand for something morally objectionable? Elvia Limón, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2023 Then, Bash had to go into a break, leaving Ramaswamy’s smug gotcha reply–and misinformation–unchallenged. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Fortune, 31 Aug. 2023 Erin’s feud with the smug queen bee of her neighborhood, Penelope (Charlotte Vega), delivers the soapy archness of Big Little Lies and Desperate Housewives. Time, 24 Aug. 2023 These progressive libertines are miserable yet smug. Armond White, National Review, 9 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'smug.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably modification of Low German smuck neat, from Middle Low German, from smucken to dress; akin to Old English smoc smock

First Known Use

1551, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of smug was in 1551

Dictionary Entries Near smug

Cite this Entry

“Smug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


smugger; smuggest
: highly satisfied with oneself : complacent
smugly adverb
smugness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on smug

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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