1 : to strike sharply or heavily especially with the hand or an implement held in the hand
2 a : to kill or severely injure by so striking
b : to attack or afflict suddenly and injuriously
3 : to cause to strike
4 : to affect as if by striking
Did You Know?
Today's word has been part of the English language for a very long time; the earliest documented written use dates to the 12th century. Smite can be traced back to the Old English smītan, meaning "to smear or defile." Smītan is akin to the Scottish word smit, meaning "to stain, contaminate, or infect," as well as to the Old High German bismīzan, "to defile." In addition to its "strike" and "attack" senses, smite has a softer side. As of the mid-17th century, it can mean "to captivate or take"—a sense that is frequently used in the past participle in such contexts as "smitten by her beauty" or "smitten with him" (meaning "in love with him"). Its past tense is smote.
The cartoon's villain was, as tradition would have it, smote by an anvil dropping mysteriously from the sky.
"Down the street, Teresa Benner's 1963, 23-window Volkswagen van was also turning heads. She bought it recently when it came up at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona. She was smitten at first sight." — Joel Mills, The Lewiston (Idaho) Morning Tribune, 23 June 2019
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of smite that means "to hit with heavy impact": NLDOBEUGVIEW THE ANSWER
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