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From Middle English smoothe, smothe, smethe, from Old English smōþ, smōþe ‎(smooth, serene, calm, unruffled) and Old English smēþe ‎(smooth, polished, soft, without roughness or inequalities of surface, without discomfort or annoyance, suave, agreeable, avoiding offence, not irritating, not harsh, melodious, harmonious, lenitive), both from Proto-Germanic *smanþaz, *smanþiz ‎(smooth, soft), of unknown origin. Cognate with Scots smuith ‎(smooth), Low German smood and smödig ‎(smooth, malleable, ductile), Dutch smeuïg ‎(smooth) (from earlier smeudig).



smooth ‎(comparative smoother, superlative smoothest)

  1. Having a texture that lacks friction. Not rough.
    • John Dryden (1631-1700)
      The outlines must be smooth, imperceptible to the touch, and even, without eminence or cavities.
    • 1907, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, “chapter IX”, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 4241346:
      “A tight little craft,” was Austin’s invariable comment on the matron; and she looked it, always trim and trig and smooth of surface like a converted yacht cleared for action. ¶ Near her wandered her husband, orientally bland, invariably affable, [].
    • 2005, Lesley Brown, Sophist, translation of original by Plato:
      Teaching that’s done by talking seems to have one rough path and another part which is smoother.
  2. Without difficulty, problems, or unexpected consequences or incidents.
    We hope for a smooth transition to the new system.
    • 2011, Phil McNulty, Euro 2012: Montenegro 2-2 England:
      England's path to Poland and Ukraine next summer looked to be a smooth one as goals from Ashley Young and Darren Bent gave them a comfortable lead after 31 minutes.
  3. Bland; glib.
  4. Flowing or uttered without check, obstruction, or hesitation; not harsh; fluent.
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      the only smooth poet of those times
    • Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
      Waller was smooth; but Dryden taught to join / The varying verse, the full-resounding line.
    • John Gay (1685-1732)
      When sage Minerva rose, / From her sweet lips smooth elocution flows.
  5. (of a person) Suave; sophisticated.
  6. (of an action) Natural; unconstrained.
    • 2006, Mary Kay Moskal and Camille Blachowicz, Reading for Fluency, ISBN 1593852649, page 3:
      In order for a reading to be smooth and effortless, readers must be able to recognize and read words accurately, automatically, and quickly.
  7. (of a motion) Unbroken.
  8. (chiefly of water) Placid, calm.
  9. (of an edge) Lacking projections or indentations; not serrated.
  10. (of food or drink) Not grainy; having an even texture.
    • 1997, Lou Seibert Pappas, Sorbets and Ice Creams, ISBN 0811815730, page 19:
      A compact and stylish design, it produces 1 generous quart of excellent, smooth ice cream in 20 to 25 minutes.
  11. (of a beverage) Having a pleasantly rounded flavor; neither rough nor astringent.
  12. (mathematics, of a function) Having derivatives of all finite orders at all points within the function’s domain.
  13. (mathematics, of a number) That factors completely into small prime numbers.
  14. (linguistics, classical studies, of a vowel) Lacking marked aspiration.
  15. (of muscles, medicine) Involuntary and non-striated.


  • (having a texture lacking friction): even


Derived terms[edit]



smooth ‎(comparative smoother, superlative smoothest)

  1. Smoothly.
    • Shakespeare
      Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep.


smooth ‎(plural smooths)

  1. Something that is smooth, or that goes smoothly and easily.
    • Bible, Genesis xxvii. 16
      The smooth of his neck.
    • 1860, Anne Manning, The Day of Small Things[1], page 81:
      Things are often equalized by roughs and smooths being set against one another.
  2. A smoothing action.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Thackeray to this entry?)
    • 2006, Julienne Van Loon, Road Story[2], ISBN 1741146216, page 12:
      She brushes down her hair with a little bit of spit and a smooth of her hand and opens the bright green door, walking a few metres, squinting.
  3. A domestic animal having a smooth coat.
    • 1916, William Ernest Castle and Sewall Wright, Studies of Inheritance in Guinea-pigs and Rats[3], page 104:
      In the 4-toe stock there is a wide gap between the lowest rough and the smooths which come from the same parents.
  4. A member of an anti-hippie fashion movement in 1970s Britain.
    • 1999, Peter Childs and Mike Storry, Encyclopedia of Contemporary British Culture[4], ISBN 0806991356, page 188:
      By the early 1970s, skinhead culture began to mutate into the variant ‘white ethnic’ styles of the suedeheads and smooths.
  5. (statistics) The analysis obtained through a smoothing procedure.
    • 1990, Wolfgang Härdle, Applied Nonparametric Regression[5], ISBN 0521429501, page 17:
      A smooth of the potato data set has already been given in Figure 1.2.



smooth ‎(third-person singular simple present smooths, present participle smoothing, simple past and past participle smoothed)

  1. To make smooth or even.
    • 1961, William Gibson, The Miracle Worker[6], ISBN 0573612382, page 37:
      She smooths her skirt, looking as composed and ladylike as possible.
  2. To make straightforward.
    • 2007, Beth Kohn, Lonely Planet Venezuela (page 379)
      Caracas can be a tough place but the tremendously good-natured caraqueños smoothed my passage every step of the way.
  3. (statistics, image processing, digital audio) To capture important patterns in the data, while leaving out noise.
    • 1999, Murray R. Spiegel and Larry J. Stephens, Schaum’s Outline of Theory and Problems of Statistics[7], ISBN 0070602816, page 457:
      [] the 7-month moving averages provide better smoothing of the data in this case than do the 3-month moving averages.

Derived terms[edit]


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