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See also: sméar
From Middle English smeren, smerien, from Old English smerian, smyrian, smierwan (“to anoint or rub with grease, oil, etc.”), from Proto-West Germanic *smirwijan, from Proto-Germanic *smirwijaną. Doublet of schmear.
- (UK) enPR: smî(r), IPA(key): /smɪə(ɹ)/
- (US) enPR: smîr, IPA(key): /smiɚ/, IPA(key): /smɪɚ/
Audio (UK) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɪə(ɹ)
- (transitive) To spread (a substance, especially one that colours or is dirty) across a surface by rubbing.
- (transitive) To cover (a surface with a layer of some substance) by rubbing.
- c. 1606 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene ii]:
- Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there: go carry them; and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.
- 1667, John Milton, “[http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A50919.0001.001 Book 10 ]”, in Paradise Lost. […], London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, →OCLC, lines 725-727:
- […] a Vessel of huge bulk,
Measur’d by Cubit, length, & breadth, and highth,
Smeard round with Pitch,
- (transitive) To make something dirty.
- (transitive) (of a substance, etc.) To make a surface dirty by covering it.
- (transitive) To damage someone's reputation by slandering, misrepresenting, or otherwise making false accusations about them, their statements, or their actions.
- Synonyms: badmouth, besmirch, defame, sully, vilify
- The opposition party attempted to smear the candidate by spreading incorrect and unverifiable rumors about their personal behavior.
- 1976, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, “J.M.—A Writer’s Tribute” in Writers in Politics, London: Heinemann, 1981, p. 82,
- The imperialist foreigners then in the offices of the Nation Newspapers would not allow the African staff to review it. They handled it themselves in order to smear the book and its author and his celebration of Mau Mau resistance.
- (transitive) To cause (something) to be messy or not clear by rubbing and spreading it.
- 1849 May – 1850 November, Charles Dickens, chapter 44, in The Personal History of David Copperfield, London: Bradbury & Evans, […], published 1850, →OCLC, page 457:
- When she had entered two or three laborious items in the account-book, Jip would walk over the page, wagging his tail, and smear them all out.
- (intransitive) To become messy or not clear by being spread.
- Synonym: smudge
- The paint is still wet — don't touch it or it will smear.
- (transitive) To write or draw (something) by spreading a substance on a surface.
- (transitive) To cause (something) to be a particular colour by covering with a substance.
- (transitive) To rub (a body part, etc.) across a surface.
- (transitive) To attempt to remove (a substance) from a surface by rubbing.
- 1838, Boz [pseudonym; Charles Dickens], Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress. […], volumes (please specify |volume=I, II, or III), London: Richard Bentley, […], →OCLC, page 198:
- He had […] a dirty belcher handkerchief round his neck, with the long frayed ends of which he smeared the beer from his face as he spoke:
- 1960, Katherine Anne Porter, “Holiday” in Douglas and Sylvia Angus (eds.), Contemporary American Short Stories, New York: Ballantine, 1983, p. 323,
- […] she stood and shook with silent crying, smearing away her tears with the open palm of her hand.
- (climbing) To climb without using footholds, using the friction from the shoe to stay on the wall.
to spread (a substance)
to spread (a surface) with a substance
to damage someone's reputation by slandering, making false accusations
- A mark made by smearing.
- Synonym: streak
- This detergent cleans windows without leaving smears.
- (countable, uncountable) A false or unsupported, malicious statement intended to injure a person's reputation.
- 1752, Theophilus Cibber, A Lick at a Liar, London: R. Griffiths, page 7:
- I should have held him quite beneath my Notice, as is all he utters, but that the Appetite of Slander, in many, is too predominant; and, ’tis possible, when the filthiest Fellow throws a Profusion of Dirt, some may chance to stick, if not timely thrown off; I shall endeavour therefore, to wipe away the sooty Smears of this Chimney-sweeper, by relating a simple Fact, which will, I flatter myself, amply confute the malicious Tales of this unprovoked, rancorous Mortal:
- (biology) A preparation to be examined under a microscope, made by spreading a thin layer of a substance (such as blood, bacterial culture) on a slide.
- Synonym: squash
- (medicine) A Pap smear (screening test for cervical cancer).
- (radio, television, uncountable) Any of various forms of distortion that make a signal harder to see or hear.
- 1954, Radio & Television News: Radio-electronic engineering section:
- In television terms, a certain amount of smear, ringing, and anticipatory overshoot are indigenous to VSB transmission.
- 1972, Scientific and Technical Aerospace Reports:
- Results show the reduction in intelligibility produced by changing the filter condition was much greater than reductions caused by altering smear duration.
- (climbing) A maneuver in which the shoe is placed onto the holdless rock, and the friction from the shoe keeps it in contact
- (music) A rough glissando in jazz music.
preparation to be examined under a microscope
Pap smear — see Pap smear