smug

adjective
\ ˈsməg How to pronounce smug (audio) \
smugger; smuggest

Definition of smug

1 : highly self-satisfied
2 : trim or smart in dress : spruce
3 : scrupulously clean, neat, or correct : tidy

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Other Words from smug

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Historical fiction is often beset with a knowingness, a smug hindsight that the best writing of actual historians, who don’t seek to tame their material into emblematic stories, manages to avoid. Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker, "In Thomas Grattan’s Début Novel, Historical Fiction Gets Personal," 12 Apr. 2021 Just north of the border, Canadians—usually so smug about our universal health care—are looking on with jealousy. Tracey Lindeman, The Atlantic, "What Went Wrong With Canada’s Vaccine Rollout?," 6 Apr. 2021 It’s a writing style that’s orderly and functional, not smug. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, "On the Rocks Hopes You’re Cool With Ignoring All the Bad Stuff," 23 Feb. 2021 Like clockwork, whenever there’s a tragedy or egregious failure in a state like Texas, Florida, or Georgia, a number of smug liberals come forward to argue that residents are just dealing with the consequences of their own votes. Lydia Wang, refinery29.com, "No, Texans Do Not Deserve To Suffer Because They Live In A Red State," 17 Feb. 2021 This may not be the smug sentimentality of the memoir’s psychiatrists, who are eager to congratulate Howland for submitting to their expert care. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "What a Lost Psych-Ward Memoir Teaches Us About Madness," 5 Jan. 2021 Here our secular progressive might raise his head again, perhaps feeling a bit smug about this finding. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "Why American Children Stopped Believing in God," 13 Dec. 2020 Oh god, the only thing people are going to remember about London is my smug face. Lane Florsheim, WSJ, "Anya Taylor-Joy on ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ and Dancing at the End of the Pandemic," 6 Nov. 2020 Some readers will find this all deplorably smug (a charge levelled at Amis on more than one occasion), but the self-pleased protagonist may be no more of a confection than the customary self-loathing one. Giles Harvey, The New Yorker, "Martin Amis’s Turn to Autofiction," 19 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'smug.' 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 smug

1551, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for smug

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

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Statistics for smug

Last Updated

19 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Smug.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smug. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for smug

smug

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of smug

disapproving : having or showing the annoying quality of people who feel very pleased or satisfied with their abilities, achievements, etc.

smug

adjective
\ ˈsməg How to pronounce smug (audio) \
smugger; smuggest

Kids Definition of smug

: showing a superior attitude

Other Words from smug

smugly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on smug

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smug

Nglish: Translation of smug for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smug for Arabic Speakers

Comments on smug

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