Definition of smoke in English:

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Pronunciation: /sməʊk/


1 [mass noun] A visible suspension of carbon or other particles in air, typically one emitted from a burning substance: bonfire smoke
More example sentences
  • Choking acrid smoke from the burning building engulfed nearby streets and flames could be seen leaping high into the sky.
  • When Mr Glister opened the back door to the club he was met by intense heat and thick smoke from his burning car.
  • He said the large volume of smoke was caused by burning tar.
fumes, exhaust, gas, vapour;
2An act of smoking tobacco: I’m dying for a smoke
More example sentences
  • Plus, when he went outside the apartment to take a quick smoke, he just looked like those fathers on the 50's sitcoms.
  • He says that he'd like one of his cigarettes for a smoke, then runs and smashes his hand through the window and gets a carton.
  • Although I was trying to quit smoking, the beer gave me a bad craving and when Mike went for a smoke, I followed and asked to bum one.
2.1 informal A cigarette or cigar: you’re going to buy some smokes of your own
More example sentences
  • Chandler pulled out his pack of cigarettes and lit his smoke, after leaning me against the building so I didn't fall over.
  • I heard a voice say hey youngfella, have you got a smoke. I gave him one and we start talking. I ask him how long he has been here.
  • "I came to smoke and talk with my cousin," said Slim Coyote, "so give me a smoke while I'm waiting. He won't mind, he's my cousin."
3 (the Smoke or the Big Smoke) British informal A big city, especially London: she was offered a job in the Smoke
More example sentences
  • Expect quiet here today, as I'm off to The Smoke for the day.
  • As you know I had high hopes for this trip to the Smoke.
  • Apparently you can get an illegal handgun down in the Smoke for as little as 2-300.


1 [no object] Emit smoke or visible vapour: heat the oil until it just smokes
More example sentences
  • The fire smoked on, until eventually a fireman was given the all-clear to escort me safely to my door.
  • The fires had to be lit and sometimes were left burning all night if there was a smoke problem, as a ‘clear’ fire never smoked.
  • Ships were still smoking and fires kept breaking out on the harbor and Matt knew that no matter what happened after this, he would never forget it.
smoulder, emit smoke, emit fumes
archaic reek
2 [no object] Inhale and exhale the smoke of tobacco or a drug: Janine was sitting at the kitchen table smoking [with object]: he smoked forty cigarettes a day
More example sentences
  • The report also showed 10 per cent of pupils were tobacco smokers - smoking at least one cigarette a week.
  • There are indications that using smokeless tobacco could be as detrimental to fetal health as cigarette smoking.
  • There is no ventilation system that reduces or eliminates the carcinogenic products of second-hand smoke or the sidestream smoke from cigarette smoking.
puff on, draw on, pull on;
light up
informal take a drag of, drag on
3 [with object] Treat, fumigate, or cleanse by exposure to smoke.
Example sentences
  • The room must be thoroughly smoked, even under the furniture, before the client leaves the room.
3.1 (often as adjective smoked) Cure or preserve (meat or fish) by exposure to smoke: smoked salmon
More example sentences
  • Smoked salmon can be substituted by any oily fish or even smoked venison or duck.
  • The latter are dumplings made with Bauernspeck, carefully cured and smoked bacon, a prominent speciality of the whole of the Tyrol.
  • Use a smoked gammon knuckle, smoked ham hock or whatever smoked bacon bones you can find - or talk your butcher into selling you the ham bone when they get to the end of carving off the meat.
cure, preserve, dry
3.2 (usually as adjective smoked) Treat (glass) so as to darken it: the smoked glass of his lenses
More example sentences
  • Finding glass of such thickness is certainly going to prove quite difficult, especially as smoked glass is generally manufactured only up to 12 mm thick.
  • The outside is smoked glass decorated with a swirling pattern made from what looks like beaten copper.
  • Coke's chemists still work behind smoked glass surrounded by security guards.
3.3Subdue (insects, especially bees) by exposing them to smoke: they then smoke the bees until they are stupid
More example sentences
  • Then a fire is lit at the base of the cliff to smoke the bees from their honeycombs.
  • Pry the top off the hive, slowly continuing to smoke the bees inside. Lift one corner and apply smoke. Next, move to each of the other corners and repeat.
  • When reassembling the hive, smoke the bees so that they move down and pause slightly before replacing hive bodies or covers.
3.4 (smoke someone/thing out) Drive someone or something out of a place by using smoke: we will fire the roof and smoke him out
More example sentences
  • Or do they use of gas or smoke to try to smoke these people out?
3.5 (smoke someone out) Force someone to make something known: as the press smokes him out on other human rights issues, he will be revealed as a social conservative
More example sentences
  • The disclosure provision in the City Council's reparations bill will smoke them out.
4 [with object] North American informal Kill (someone) by shooting: they gotta go smoke this person
More example sentences
  • And he tells us to smoke him. [Intel] would tell the Lieutenant that he had to smoke the prisoners and that is what we were told to do.
  • He said, ‘You are a big lad so if you move I'll smoke you’.
  • I put the gun in his mouth and smoked him.
4.1Defeat overwhelmingly in a fight or contest: I got smoked in that fight
More example sentences
  • We were completely smoked by the competition in our first race.
  • The excuses they came up with were unbelievable, they were completely smoked in the game, just lick your wounds, give the other team the credit they deserve.
  • Kathy smoked him in that final round and he received a C while she received an AA with 15 Greats.
5 [with object] archaic Make fun of (someone): we baited her and smoked her



go up in smoke

informal Be destroyed by fire: three hundred tons of straw went up in smoke
More example sentences
  • A TEENAGER'S Christmas presents went up in smoke when a fire caused by a scented candle destroyed her bedroom.
  • Vital funding for Settle Swimming Pool has gone up in smoke after vandals again set fire to a paper recycling trailer.
  • Fires started spontaneously and kitchen appliances went up in smoke.
1.1(Of a plan) come to nothing: more than one dream is about to go up in smoke
More example sentences
  • But that plan went up in smoke with the granting of planning permission for the Bellanaboy terminal.
  • That plan almost went up in smoke in an instant, but Hartley's strike from the edge of the area went narrowly wide for Hearts.
  • But as retirement nears, the company and its pension scheme goes up in smoke and with it your plans for a comfortable old age.

in (or into) smoke

Australian /NZ informal In (or into) hiding: he slipped ashore and went into smoke
More example sentences
  • The always well-dressed Harrison was in smoke at the time.
  • Just a few months earlier, Mona had gone into smoke after being accused of stabbing Hilda Lane.
  • Bert, if indeed that was his name, had also gone into smoke.

no smoke without fire (North American also where there's smoke there's fire)

proverb There’s always some reason for a rumour.
Example sentences
  • But, he put on the agenda several things that I don't think anyone outside of a little Labor circle had ever heard of, and he put them out there on the agenda, and I think some people will say where there's smoke there's fire.
  • It certainly isn't true, but there are people who believe there's no smoke without fire.
  • There is no smoke without fire and I would not be surprised if something happens in the next six months.

smoke and mirrors

North American The obscuring or embellishing of the truth of a situation with misleading or irrelevant information: the budget process is an exercise in smoke and mirrors
With reference to illusion created by conjuring tricks
More example sentences
  • The truth here is not even obscured with the usual smoke and mirrors.
  • Would you believe that all this ‘informed’ blather is just smoke and mirrors?
  • Major accounting firms were all too happy to be deceived by corporate smoke and mirrors, as long as they got lucrative consulting contracts.

smoke like a chimney

Smoke tobacco incessantly: ironic—you smoke like a chimney and the lungs are OK
More example sentences
  • Minttu smokes like a chimney… so I smoked too (like I needed an excuse).
  • MICHAEL DELVECCHIO tells, ‘She was drinking and smoking like a chimney, so we asked the security guard to tell her to put out her cigarette because there were young children present, but she just kept on doing it..’
  • Black says, quote, ‘I went on a kind of crazy rampage, me and another member of the cast, who will remain nameless, just running around, dancing around, and drinking, and exercising, and smoking like a chimney.’



(also smokeable) adjective
Example sentences
  • In the tough, internal logic of the closed institution, there are also practical reasons to turn to the hard stuff: smokeable drugs are more difficult to consume in secret than injectable ones.
  • If the black market choose to supply an addictive substance like heroin or this smokable methamphetamine, you normally see a big chain reaction of crime following it as addicts struggle to support their habits.
  • Injection drug use and smokeable cocaine in particular are related to HIV transmission among Latinas, both through shared injection equipment and through sex-for-drugs-or-money exchanges.


Old English smoca (noun), smocian (verb), from the Germanic base of smēocan 'emit smoke'; related to Dutch smook and German Schmauch.

  • The Old English word smoke is around a thousand years old, and people are first recorded as smoking tobacco at the start of the 17th century. A big city has been called the Smoke or the Big Smoke since the 1840s—the first examples refer not to London but to Australian towns. A piece of indisputable and incriminating evidence can be described as a smoking gun. This conjures up the image of someone standing holding a smoking gun next to a corpse with gunshot wounds. The natural assumption is that they are the guilty party. The phrase came to prominence during the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s. An incriminating tape revealed President Nixon's wish to limit the FBI's involvement in the investigation, prompting Republican congressman Barber T. Conable to observe: ‘I guess we have found the smoking pistol, haven't we?’ There's no smoke without fire, suggests that there is always some reason for a rumour. The English version dates back at least to the 15th century, though the same idea appears in the work of the Roman comic dramatist Plautus—‘the flame is right next to the smoke’—and in a 13th-century French proverb. The phrase smoke and mirrors refers to the illusion created by conjuring tricks and can be traced back to the US political columnist Jimmy Breslin, writing in 1975: ‘All political power is primarily an illusion…Mirrors and blue smoke, beautiful blue smoke rolling over the surface of highly polished mirrors…If somebody tells you how to look, there can be seen in the smoke great, magnificent shapes, castles and kingdoms, and maybe they can be yours.’

Words that rhyme with smoke

awoke, bespoke, bloke, broke, choke, cloak, Coke, convoke, croak, evoke, folk, invoke, joke, Koch, moke, oak, okey-doke, poke, provoke, revoke, roque, soak, soke, spoke, stoke, stony-broke (US stone-broke), stroke, toke, toque, woke, yoke, yolk

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: smoke

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