v. smeared, smear·ing, smears
a. To spread or daub (a surface, for example) with a sticky, greasy, or dirty substance.
b. To apply by spreading or daubing: smeared suntan lotion on my face and arms.
c. To cause to be blurry or spread in unwanted places: The ink on the poster was smeared.
2. To stain or attempt to destroy the reputation of; vilify: political enemies who smeared his name.
3. Slang To defeat utterly.
To spread easily in an undesired way: This mascara smears when it gets wet.
1. A mark made by smearing; a spot or blot.
2. A substance to be spread on a surface.
3. Biology A sample, as of blood or bacterial cells, spread on a slide for microscopic examination or on the surface of a culture medium.
a. Vilification or slander.
b. A vilifying or slanderous remark.
[Middle English smeren, to anoint, from Old English smerian.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.