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See also: smíte


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English smiten, from Old English smītan (to daub, smear, smudge; soil, defile, pollute), from Proto-West Germanic *smītan, from Proto-Germanic *smītaną (to sling; throw; smear), from Proto-Indo-European *smeyd- (to smear, whisk, strike, rub).

Cognate with Saterland Frisian smiete (to throw, toss), West Frisian smite (to throw), Low German smieten (to throw, chuck, toss), Dutch smijten (to fling, hurl, throw), Middle Low German besmitten (to soil, sully), German schmeißen (to fling, throw), Danish smide (to throw), Gothic 𐌱𐌹𐍃𐌼𐌴𐌹𐍄𐌰𐌽 (bismeitan, to besmear, anoint).


  • enPR: smīt, IPA(key): /smaɪt/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪt


smite (third-person singular simple present smites, present participle smiting, simple past smote or smited or (obsolete) smit, past participle smitten or smote or smited or (obsolete) smit)

  1. (archaic) To hit; to strike.
  2. To strike down or kill with godly force.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Exodus 3:19–20:
      And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.
    • 1653, Thomas Taylor, “Peters Repentance. Marke 14.27.”, in The Works of that Faithful Servant of Jesus Christ, Dr. Thom. Taylor, Sometimes Minister of the Gospel in Aldermanbury, London. Not Hitherto Published, (though Earnestly Desired by the Very Many Experimental Christians,) because the Iniquity of Those Times could not Bear such Burning and Shining Light, as is here Handed Forth in these Several Treatises Following. [...], London: Printed by T. R. & E. M. for John Bartlet the elder and John Bartlet the younger, and are to be sold at the Golden Cup near Austins gate in the new Building, →OCLC, page 6:
      For it is written, I will ſmite the Shepheard, and the Sheep ſhall be ſcattered. [] Becauſe the Shepheard was to be ſmitten, they as Sheepe muſt be ſcattered. The Scope of which place is, to prove Chriſt the true Paſtor of the Flocke, even by his ſmiting and abaſement; and ſo moſt aptly alledged that the Diſciples might have matter of ſtrength and comfort thence where they ſtumbled and offended themſelves.
  3. To injure with divine power.
    • 1746, Lodowick[e] Muggleton, “CHAP. XXV [of the Book of Revelation].”, in True Interpretation of All the Chief Texts, and Mysterious Sayings and Visions Opened, of the Whole Book of the Revelation of St. John. Whereby is Unfolded, and Plainly Declared, those Wonderful Deep Mysteries and Visions Interpreted, Concerning the True God, and Alpha and Omega. With Variety of other Heavenly Secrets, which Have Never Been Pen'd, Nor Revel'd to Any Man since the Creation of the World to this Day, until Now[1], London: First Printed for the Author, in the Year 1665. And now Re-printed by Subscription, →OCLC:
      VERSE 12. And the fourth angel ſounded, and the third part of the ſun was ſmitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the ſtars, ſo as the third part of them was darkened, and the day ſhone not for a third part of it, and the night likewiſe. [] [T]his Jeſus which ſignifies the ſun, was ſmitten with persecution and ſufferings in the time of his miniſtry, that there could but a third part of his heavenly light ſhine upon the people of the Jews, and happy were thoſe that this light did ſhine upon.
  4. To kill violently; to slay.
  5. To put to rout in battle; to overthrow by war.
    • 2021 January 20, Drachinifel, 5:49 from the start, in Type 93 Long Lance Torpedo - Long Range Hole Poking Device[2], archived from the original on 1 November 2022:
      [] and it turned out, if you just dumped pure oxygen and kerosene into the combustion chamber, the torpedo would travel at fairly-high speed... just instantaneously in all directions at once, disassembling itself, and any nearby people, with considerable enthusiasm. Explaining that this was entirely-unacceptable behavior for a torpedo that was designed to smite the Emperor's enemies didn't really tend to work out that well, since they hadn't yet invented the Machine Spirit, and, in any case, working out which bit of the torpedo you were supposed to talk to, or possibly scrape off the wall, was somewhat difficult once it had decided to launch a several-hundred-meter search into the realm of the honorable ancestors.
  6. To afflict; to chasten; to punish.
    • 1688, William Wake, Preparation for Death:
      Let us not mistake the goodness of God, nor imagine that because he smites us, therefore we are forsaken by him.
    • 1787 December, Charles Wilkins, “The Heetopades of Veeshnoo-Sarma. Translated from the Sanskreet Language. By Charles Wilkins.”, in The Edinburgh Magazine, or Literary Miscellany, volume VI, number 36, Edinburgh: Printed for J. Sibbald: and sold by J[ohn] Murray, London, →OCLC, page 383:
      A country deprived of the Ganges is ſmitten; a family without learning is ſmitten; a woman without a child is ſmitten; a ſacrifice without the Brahman's rights is ſmitten.
  7. (figuratively, now only in passive) To strike with love or infatuation.
    Bob was smitten with Laura from the first time he saw her.
    I was really smitten by the color combination, and soon repainted the entire house.
    Who'd be smitten over a bird?
    • 1757, Alexander Pope, The Works of Alexander Pope: Esq., with His Last Corrections, Additions, and Improvements, volume 5, London: Printed for A. Millar; J. and R. Tonson; H. Lintot; and C. Bathurst., page 222:
      See what the charms that smite the simple heart, // Not touch'd by Nature, and not reach'd by art.
    • 2001, René of Anjou, edited by Stephanie Viereck Gibbs and Kathryn Karczewska, The Book of the Love-smitten Heart, New York, N.Y., London: Routledge, →ISBN, page 159:
      Thus was written beneath the arms of Arthur of Lesser, duke of Brittany [] Love nonetheless made me feel his dart, / For my person was smitten and inflamed / In its soul by she for whom I bore my shield here: []
    • 2014, Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, Diann Hunt, The Smitten Collection: Smitten, Secretly Smitten, and Smitten Book Club, Thomas Nelson Inc., →ISBN:
      Maybe he was smitten with Clare. And maybe the fact that he didn't want to leave meant it was past time he did.

Derived terms[edit]



smite (plural smites)

  1. (archaic, rare) A heavy strike with a weapon, tool, or the hand.
    • 1844, The Mysterious Man. A Novel. By the Author of Ben Bradshawe; the Man Without a Head [i.e. Frederick Chamier[3], T. C. Newby, page 192:
      On the other hand , your soft-headed, softhearted sentimentalist, whose heart is in his waistcoat pocket, always at hand for use, he who picks out the pretty parts of modern novels, and the tender parts of affecting tales, never hears of two young people meeting one another, but he begins to think that a smite must follow.
    • 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll[4], Doubleday, →ISBN, page 45:
      ‘That is just what I was about to venture to propose,’returned the doctor with a smite. But the words were hardly uttered, before the smile was struck out of his face and succeeded by an expression of such abject terror and despair, as froze the very blood of the two gentlemen below.
    • 2007, Rupert Penny, Policeman's Holiday[5], Ramble House, →ISBN, page 82:
      Beale, who had not been driving very well, took a smite at his ball and sent it curving far away to the left into a mess of gorse of bramble bushes.


West Frisian[edit]


From Old Frisian smīta, from Proto-West Germanic *smītan, from Proto-Indo-European *smeyd-.




  1. to throw
  2. to fling


Strong class 1
infinitive smite
3rd singular past smiet
past participle smiten
infinitive smite
long infinitive smiten
gerund smiten n
auxiliary hawwe
indicative present tense past tense
1st singular smyt smiet
2nd singular smytst smietst
3rd singular smyt smiet
plural smite smieten
imperative smyt
participles smitend smiten

Further reading[edit]