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See also: Smug



Possibly from Middle Low German smuk (lithe, delicate, neat, trim) although the g of the English word is not easily explained. From the Low German derived also North Frisian smok, Danish smuk and Swedish smukk (now obsolete or dialectal). The ultimate source should be Proto-Germanic *smeuganą.

Compare Middle High German gesmuc (ornament) and smücken (to dress, to adorn), both ultimately from smiegen (to press to, insert, wrap, to nestle), hence German schmiegen, Schmuck and schmücken. The adjective schmuck, however, was borrowed from Low German. See smock for more.



smug (comparative smugger, superlative smuggest)

  1. Irritatingly pleased with oneself, offensively self-complacent. self-satisfied.
    Kate looked extremely smug this morning.
  2. (obsolete) Studiously neat or nice, especially in dress; spruce; affectedly precise; smooth and prim.
    • Robynson (More's Utopia)
      They be so smug and smooth.
    • De Quincey
      the smug and scanty draperies of his style
    • Beaumont and Fletcher
      A young, smug, handsome holiness has no fellow.


Derived terms[edit]



smug (third-person singular simple present smugs, present participle smugging, simple past and past participle smugged)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To make smug, or spruce.
    • Dryton
      Thus said, he smugged his beard, and stroked up fair.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for smug in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Further reading[edit]


Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

  • smau (Nynorsk also)


From the verb smyge


smug n (definite singular smuget, indefinite plural smug, definite plural smuga or smugene)

  1. an alley or alleyway (usually for pedestrians)