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 The lengthy, meandering interview displayed sides of Musk from combative and smug to philosophical and contemplative. Jaimie Ding, Los Angeles Times, 30 Nov. 2023 Political consultant Thom Morgan and smug data analyst Clay Parker have never liked each other. USA TODAY, 11 Aug. 2023 Leftist slogans about hate are naught but smug, self-congratulatory moral preening. Noah Rothman, National Review, 10 Nov. 2023 Mary Cosby is back, still acting smug and superior, as Season 4 begins. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 Sep. 2023 Afflicting not the comfortable but the smug, the superficial, and the conformist is a critic’s job. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 5 Oct. 2023 But perhaps because of the smug, silent, and isolated way the Camry generates these numbers, the driver doesn't seem to enjoy generating them here as much as in some other cars. Frank Markus, Car and Driver, 31 Aug. 2023 It’s grown comfortable and smug in its preeminence. Hazlitt, 26 July 2023 Which brings me to your options regarding the smug, mean-spirited Facebook post. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 29 Sep. 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 10 Dec. 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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