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 This epiphany was not about feeling superior or smug. Scott Burns, Dallas News, "No matter your net worth, simple wealth beats complex wealth," 9 May 2021 Designing a program in a way that assumes people are not on board can lead to some in your organization feeling attacked, while others feel smug, alienated, or disheartened. David Rock, Forbes, "To Supercharge DE&I, Mobilize The Middle," 6 May 2021 Nicky says matter-of-factly before giving the smug look that Liang has mastered giving at the end of her fighting sequences. Max Gao, Vulture, "Kung Fu Recap: Know Your Worth," 28 Apr. 2021 By perpetuating the shallowest perception of the Smiths legacy, the episode is designed to keep audiences dumb and smug, like Leninist Lisa herself. Armond White, National Review, "The Simpsons Tries to Cancel Morrissey," 21 Apr. 2021 Historians examining slavery’s legacy are forcibly reminded of their subject when cops kill Black people with smug impunity. James Robins, The New Republic, "Can Historians Be Traumatized by History?," 16 Feb. 2021 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

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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Learn More about smug

Statistics for smug

Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Smug.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smug. Accessed 13 May. 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

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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