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From Middle English smothe, smethe, from Old English smēþe, smōþ, both from Proto-West Germanic *smanþī, of unknown origin. Cognate with Scots smuith (smooth), Low German smood and smödig (smooth, malleable, ductile), Dutch smeuïg (smooth) (from earlier smeudig).


  • IPA(key): /smuːð/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːð


smooth (comparative smoother, superlative smoothest)

  1. Having a texture that lacks friction. Not rough.
    • 1695, C[harles] A[lphonse] du Fresnoy, translated by John Dryden, De Arte Graphica. The Art of Painting, [], London: [] J[ohn] Heptinstall for W. Rogers, [], →OCLC:
      The outlines must be smooth, [] imperceptible to the touch, and even, without eminence or cavities.
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter IX, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
      “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, page 229e:
      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”, in BBC[1]:
      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.
    • 1670, John Milton, The History of Britain:
      the only smooth poet of those times
    • 1737, [Alexander Pope], The First Epistle of the Second Book of Horace, Imitated, London: [] T. Cooper, [], →OCLC, page 16:
      VValler vvas ſmooth; but Dryden taught to join / The varying verſe, the full reſounding line, / The long majetſic march, and energy divine.
    • 1713, [John] Gay, “Book III”, in The Fan. A Poem. [], 2nd edition, London: [] J[acob] Tonson, [], published 1714, →OCLC, page 23:
      VVhen bright Minerva roſe, / From her ſvveet Lips ſmooth Elocution flovvs, []
  5. Suave; sophisticated.
    • 2003, T. Lewis Humphrey, The Price of Love, →ISBN, page 279:
      He was so smooth and handsome. He knew just what to say and when to say it.
  6. (of an action) Natural; unconstrained.
    • 2006, Mary Kay Moskal, Camille Blachowicz, Reading for Fluency, →ISBN, 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, 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
  • (without difficulty or problems): fluid


Derived terms[edit]



smooth (comparative smoother, superlative smoothest)

  1. Smoothly.


smooth (plural smooths)

  1. Something that is smooth, or that goes smoothly and easily.
  2. A smoothing action.
    • 2006, Julienne Van Loon, Road Story[3], →ISBN, 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, Sewall Wright, Studies of Inheritance in Guinea-pigs and Rats[4], 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, Mike Storry, Encyclopedia of Contemporary British Culture[5], →ISBN, 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[6], →ISBN, 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. (transitive) To make smooth or even.
    • 1961, William Gibson, The Miracle Worker[7], →ISBN, page 37:
      She smooths her skirt, looking as composed and ladylike as possible.
    Synonym: smoothen
  2. (transitive) To reduce to a particular shape or form by pressure; to press, to flatten.
    to smooth cloth with a smoothing iron
  3. (transitive) To make straightforward or easy.
    • 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.
  4. (transitive) To calm or palliate.
    to smooth a person's temper
  5. (statistics, image processing, digital audio) To capture important patterns in the data, while leaving out noise.
    • 1999, Murray R. Spiegel, Larry J. Stephens, Schaum’s Outline of Theory and Problems of Statistics[8], →ISBN, page 457:
      [] the 7-month moving averages provide better smoothing of the data in this case than do the 3-month moving averages.
  6. (West Country) To stroke; especially to stroke an animal's fur.
    Can I smooth your cat?

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]