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  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /smʌdʒ/
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  • Rhymes: -ʌdʒ

Etymology 1[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium. Particularly: “Chambers 1908: "Swedish smuts dirt, Danish smuds smut, German Schmutz"”)


smudge (countable and uncountable, plural smudges)

  1. A blemish or smear, especially a dark or sooty one.
    There was a smudge on the paper.
  2. Dense smoke, such as that used for fumigation.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Grose to this entry?)
  3. (US) A heap of damp combustibles partially ignited and burning slowly, placed on the windward side of a house, tent, etc. to keep off mosquitoes or other insects.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Bartlett to this entry?)
  4. (paganism, especially in the phrase "smudge stick" = "stick of incense") A quantity of herbs used in suffumigation.
    • 2006, Christian Rätsch, ‎Claudia Müller-Ebeling, Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals →ISBN:
      Devil's dirt or asafetida ground together with fenugreek and black cumin seed is used as a smudge against witches and []
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English smogen.


smudge (third-person singular simple present smudges, present participle smudging, simple past and past participle smudged)

  1. To obscure by blurring; to smear.
  2. To soil or smear with dirt.
  3. To use dense smoke to protect from insects.
  4. To stifle or smother with smoke.
  5. (paganism, intransitive) To burn herbs as a cleansing ritual (suffumigation).
  6. (paganism, transitive) To subject to ritual burning of herbs (suffumigation, smudging).
    • 2013, Rachel Patterson, Pagan Portals - Hoodoo: Folk Magic →ISBN:
      This is easily done using incense to smudge yourself or taking a cleansing bath. To smudge your body use an incense mixture such as sandalwood, lavender, frankincense or myrrh.

Related terms[edit]