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Etymology 1[edit]

EB1911 - Volume 01 - Page 001 - 1.svg This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page per etymology instructions. You can also discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.


smudge (countable and uncountable, plural smudges)

  1. A blemish; a smear.
    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]