Definition of smock in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /smäk/


1A loose dress or blouse, with the upper part closely gathered in smocking.
Example sentences
  • The earliest bathing suit in modern history consisted of an old outfit of clothes, then it was a smock resembling a kind of ‘bathing gown’.
  • Big smocks, lacy cardigans and wide trousers were the backbone of a collection that carried echoes of high-school uniforms and American small-town culture.
  • Mr Blair was wearing a black and blue T-shirt, jeans and training shoes, while his wife was dressed for the heat in multi-coloured patterned trousers, a white smock and trainers.
1.1A loose garment worn over one’s clothes to protect them: an artist’s smock
More example sentences
  • His clothes were a blue smock that must have been designated for volunteers.
  • Have the kids wear old clothes or provide large plastic bags with holes cut in the bottom and sides so they can slip over heads and arms for a protective smock.
  • He wore a smock, gardening gloves, and a pair of half-moon glasses with a smudge of mud on them.
1.2 (also smock-frock) historical A smocked linen overgarment worn by an agricultural worker.
Example sentences
  • Ploughmen in clean smock-frocks yoke themselves with ropes to the plough, ribbons and bunches of corn in their hats.
  • Girls returning from the maize fields, in their red gowns, white smock-frocks, and yellow or red headkerchiefs, stroll through the meadows like moving flowers.
  • There were no smock-frocks, even among the country folk; they retarded motion, and were apt to catch on machinery, and so the habit of wearing them had died out.


[with object] (usually as adjective smocked)
Decorate (something) with smocking: smocked dresses
More example sentences
  • Alberta Ferretti's romantic, smocked silk blouses and Greek maiden gowns were delightfully soft, as was Consuelo Castiglioni's Marni collection.
  • Frozen solid in her smocked white dress, Dorothy realised she wasn't in Kansas anymore.
  • Look in the pattern books for suitable patterns or see ‘Sources’ at the end of this article for companies selling a variety of patterns for children's smocked clothing.


Old English smoc 'woman's loose-fitting undergarment'; probably related to Old English smūgan 'to creep' and Old Norse smjúga 'put on a garment, creep into'. The use of the verb as a needlework term dates from the late 19th century.

  • In Old English smūgan meant ‘to creep’. Just as today we can talk about, say, wriggling into a pair of jeans or slipping into a dress, so the Anglo-Saxons used the word as a way of describing putting on a piece of clothing. This is why the related word smoc, which became smock, was applied to a woman's loose-fitting undergarment. It was not until the 19th century that the word was used for a piece of clothing worn by agricultural workers decorated with smocking, and only since the 20th that it has described a loose dress or blouse, or the loose garment that artists wear to keep their clothes clean.

Words that rhyme with smock

ad hoc, amok, Bangkok, baroque, belle époque, bloc, block, bock, brock, chock, chock-a-block, clock, doc, dock, floc, flock, frock, hock, hough, interlock, jock, knock, langue d'oc, lock, Locke, Médoc, mock, nock, o'clock, pock, post hoc, roc, rock, schlock, shock, sock, Spock, stock, wok, yapok

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: smock

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.