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smear

Line breaks: smear
Pronunciation: /smɪə
 
/

Definition of smear in English:

verb

[with object]
1Coat or mark (something) messily or carelessly with a greasy or sticky substance: his face was smeared with dirt
More example sentences
  • Inside the restaurant the walls were smeared with grease and the floor covers were torn and hard to clean.
  • I had my children and four others clinging to my leg, my hair was wildly askew and my clothes were smeared with jam: every inch the harassed earth mother.
  • Her face was smeared with bright, colorful make-up.
Synonyms
blur
informal splotch, splodge
literary besmirch
1.1 [with object and adverbial] Spread (a greasy or sticky substance) over something: she smeared sunblock on her skin
More example sentences
  • ‘Honey,’ the therapist says as he smears a new substance onto my back.
  • They smeared chocolate and vanilla ice cream all over each other's faces.
  • Amy set the soon-to-be pizza crust in front of her children, who smeared the pasta sauce from a jar across it.
Synonyms
cover, coat, grease, lard;
anoint
literary bedaub
spread, rub, daub, slap, slather, smother, plaster, cream, slick;
apply, put on, dab
literary besmear
1.2Messily blur the outline of (something such as writing or paint); smudge: her lipstick was smeared
More example sentences
  • She didn't completely understand why the sepia still photos looked like they'd been smudged, smeared or painted.
  • The place of meeting was written in her red lipstick and was slightly smeared, but Delilah could manage to decipher its message.
  • Overweight local opera would-be stars were splattered in mid-aria, and in wiping away the blue paint, it smeared and didn't come off.
2Damage the reputation of (someone) by false accusations; slander: someone was trying to smear her by faking letters
More example sentences
  • At the press conference, Tsai signed a statement promising not to abuse any person's character, smear anyone's reputation or engage in personal attacks.
  • There's almost nothing you can do when people are determined to smear you like this to completely contain the damage.
  • We naturally assumed that ‘Bring it on’ meant Boyd had the guts to meet us face to face in a fair debate, rather than smearing us in a hit-and-run attack on the pages of his own newspaper.
Synonyms
North American slur
informal do a hatchet job on
literary smirch
rare asperse, vilipend

noun

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1A mark or streak of a greasy or sticky substance: there was an oil smear on his jacket
More example sentences
  • He slid down the wall, leaving a smear of blood to mark his trail, he struggled to keep his eyes open as he saw a figure move towards him.
  • This is because the tubular orange or yellow flowers end with the petals opening wide to look like a mouth which has a large glossy black splodge on it that looks like a smear of sticky jam.
  • Across one cheek was a scrape; tiny smears of dried blood speckled her mottled skin below her eye.
Synonyms
2A sample of tissue or other material taken from part of the body, spread thinly on a microscope slide for examination, typically for medical diagnosis: the smears were stained for cryptosporidium
More example sentences
  • At external examination, blood smears on the body surface resulting from hematemesis or melena were present in 40 cases.
  • Diagnosis in leishmaniasis depends on microscopic detection of amastigotes in smears of tissue aspirates or biopsy samples.
  • Immunophenotyping is beneficial clinically because in many situations variant types of benign and malignant lymphoid cells resemble one another in routinely stained tissue sections and smears.
2.1British short for smear test.
Example sentences
  • Editor Cuzick et al have reported that testing for human papilloma virus might be used for triage of women with low grade abnormal smears in the NHS cervical screening programmes.
  • In addition, sputum smears and cultures, immunologic assessments, and chest X-ray interpretations were performed without knowledge of treatment assignment.
  • A skin test and sputum smears for tuberculosis were negative.
3A false accusation intended to damage someone’s reputation: the popular press were indulging in unwarranted smears
More example sentences
  • Prime Minister Tony Blair and his colleagues took Gilligan's report as a serious smear on their reputations.
  • Secondly, many if not most false negative smears can be detected on re-examination, but what does this mean from the legal point of view?
  • Yesterday The Guardian printed a report by John Sutherland branding bloggers of unfairly smearing Rachel Corries' good name - the article then proceeded to indulge in some choice smears of its own.
Synonyms
false accusation, false report, false imputation, slander, libel, lie, untruth, slur, defamation, calumny, vilification;
stain, taint
4 Climbing An insecure foothold: soon you’re eyeballing the top, just one smear away

Origin

Old English smierwan (verb), smeoru 'ointment, grease', of Germanic origin; related to German schmieren (verb), Schmer (noun).

More
  • Old English smeoru meant ‘ointment, grease’. Figurative use meaning ‘to attempting to discredit’ dates from the mid 16th century.

Derivatives

smearer

1
noun
Example sentences
  • I'm not sure whether Ali is annoyed more at the American anti-war mud-slingers and smearers who began the attacks on his blog or on those on the other side in Washington who took his brothers to see President Bush.
  • Lawyers for smearers have argued that it should be necessary for the criticised companies to prove damage before identities are revealed, but courts usually do not like defendants to be unidentified.
  • How do you track and identify these cyber smearers? When do you respond to attacks and when do you leave them alone?

smeary

2
adjective (smearier, smeariest)
Example sentences
  • And of course, a smeary, grotty sound that sounds like half of the dials are in the red with all the instruments merging at the edges has its own charms.
  • Like a toaster that spread the butter on before the toast popped up, or an iron that made the clothes smell nice. Miram wasn't very happy about the iron, it left smeary marks all over her favourite blouse.
  • The colours of the hills are sensational, the skies glint in a shifting palette of smeary lights; the seas are boisterous and thrilling, the pubs cosy and firelit.

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