smarmy

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

smarm +‎ -y[en 1] Apparently coined by "B.R.L., of Brighton" with sense "saying treacly things which do not sound genuine" in a competition for neologisms in The Academy (London) published on 14 January 1899.[en 2]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

smarmy (comparative smarmier, superlative smarmiest)

  1. Falsely earnest, smug, or ingratiating.
    a smarmy salesman with a big smile
  2. (rare, dated) unctuous, greasy, as hair from pomade
    • 2002 October, Austin Branstetter, "My day as a Carnie" Top of the Hill (Montgomery Bell Academy) Vol.8 No.1 p.4:
      I pulled on my smarmy t-shirt and my ragged jeans and dragged myself to report to my supervisor.

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Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ smarmy etymonline
  2. ^ Ben Yagoda (17 October 2018) "‘Smarmy’: How It Was Born and Survived" The Chronicle of Higher Education