smart money (n.) Look up smart money at
"money bet by those in the know," 1926, from smart (adj.). The same phrase earlier meant "money paid to sailors, soldiers, workers, etc., who have been disabled while on the job" (1690s), from a noun derivative of smart (v.). Also "money paid to obtain the discharge of a recruit" (1760), hence "money paid to escape some unpleasant situation" (1818). Sometimes in legal use, "damages in excess of injury done."
smart-arse Look up smart-arse at
see smart-ass.
smart-ass Look up smart-ass at
also smartass, 1960 (adj.), 1962 (n.), from smart (adj.) + ass (n.2).
smarten (v.) Look up smarten at
"to make smart, to spruce up, to improve appearance," 1786, from smart (adj.) in its sense of "spruce, trim" + -en (1). Related: Smartened; smartening.
smartly (adv.) Look up smartly at
early 13c., "vigorously," from smart (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "handsomely" is from 1836.
smartmouth (n.) Look up smartmouth at
1968, from smart (adj.) + mouth (n.).
smartness (n.) Look up smartness at
c. 1300, "severity," from smart (adj.) + -ness. From 1752 as "trimness," 1800 as "cleverness."
smarty (n.) Look up smarty at
"would-be witty or clever person," 1854, from smart (n.) + -y (3). Extended form smarty-pants first attested 1939.
smash (v.) Look up smash at
1759, "break to pieces," earlier "kick downstairs" (c. 1700), probably of imitative origin (compare smack (v.), mash (v.), crush (v.)). Meaning "act with crushing force" is from 1813; that of "strike violently" is from 1835. Tennis sense is from 1882. Smash-and-grab (adj.) is first attested 1927.
smash (n.) Look up smash at
1725, "hard blow," from smash (v.). Meaning "broken-up condition" is from 1798; that of "failure, financial collapse" is from 1839. Tennis sense is from 1882. Meaning "great success" is from 1923 ("Variety" headline, Oct. 16, in reference to Broadway productions of "The Fool" and "The Rise of Rosie O'Reilly").
smash-up (n.) Look up smash-up at
"collision," 1841, from verbal phrase; see smash (v.) + up (adv.).
smashed (adj.) Look up smashed at
1819, "crushed," past participle adjective from smash (v.). Slang meaning "drunk" is from 1962.
smashing (adj.) Look up smashing at
1833, "violently crushing to pieces," present participle adjective from smash (v.). Meaning "pleasing, sensational" is from 1911. Related: Smashingly.
smatch Look up smatch at
see smack (n.1); smack (v.3).
smatter (v.) Look up smatter at
early 15c., "talk idly, chatter; talk ignorantly or superficially," of uncertain origin, perhaps imitative. Similar forms are found in Middle High German smetern "to chatter" and Swedish smattra "to patter, rattle," and compare Danish snaddre "chatter, jabber," Dutch snateren, German schnattern "cackle, chatter, prattle." Related: Smattered; smattering.
smatterer (n.) Look up smatterer at
"one who has but slight or superficial knowledge," 1510s, agent noun from smatter (v.).
smattering (n.) Look up smattering at
"a slight or superficial knowledge," 1530s, verbal noun from smatter (v.).
smear (n.) Look up smear at
"mark or stain left by smearing," 1610s, from smear (v.). Sense of "small quantity prepared for microscopic examination" is from 1903. Meaning "a quantity of cream cheese, etc., smeared on a bagel" is by 1999, from Yiddish shmir. The earliest noun sense in English is "fat, grease, ointment" (c. 1200), from Old English had smeoru "fat, grease," cognate with Middle Dutch smere, Dutch smeer, German Schmer "grease, fat" (Yiddish schmir), Danish smør, Swedish smör "butter."
smear (v.) Look up smear at
Old English smerian, smierwan "to anoint or rub with grease, oil, etc.," from Proto-Germanic *smerwjan "to spread grease on" (cognates: Old Norse smyrja "to anoint, rub with ointment," Danish smøre, Swedish smörja, Dutch smeren, Old High German smirwen "apply salve, smear," German schmieren "to smear;" Old Norse smör "butter"), from PIE *smeru- "grease" (cognates: Greek myron "unguent, balsam," Old Irish smi(u)r "marrow," Old English smeoru "fat, grease, ointment, tallow, lard, suet," Lithuanian smarsas "fat").

Figurative sense of "assault a public reputation with unsubstantiated charges" is from 1879. Related: Smeared; smearing. Smear-word, one used regardless of its literal meaning but invested with invective, is from 1938.
smear-case (n.) Look up smear-case at
1829, semi-translation of German Schmier-käse; see smear (v.) + cheese (n.).
smee (n.) Look up smee at
"pintail duck," 1660s, reduced from earlier smeath (1620s), probably from Middle Dutch smeente.
smegma (n.) Look up smegma at
sebaceous secretion, 1819, from Latin, from Greek smegma "a detergent, soap, unguent," from smekhein "to wipe off, wipe clean, cleanse," from PIE root *sme- "to smear" (cognates: Czech smetana "cream," and see smear (v.)). So called from resemblance; a medical coinage, the word seems not to have been used in its literal Greek sense in English before this. Related: Smegmatic.
smell (n.) Look up smell at
"odor, aroma, stench," late 12c.; "faculty of perceiving by the nose," c. 1200; see smell (v.). Ousted Old English stenc (see stench) in most senses.
smell (v.) Look up smell at
late 12c., "emit or perceive an odor," not found in Old English, perhaps cognate with Middle Dutch smolen, Low German smelen "to smolder" (see smolder). However, OED says "no doubt of Old English origin, but not recorded, and not represented in any of the cognate languages." Related: Smelled or smelt; smelling.

Smelling salts (1840), used to revive the woozy, typically were a scented preparation of carbonate of ammonia. Smell-feast (n.) "one who finds and frequents good tables, one who scents out where free food is to be had" is from 1510s ("very common" c. 1540-1700, OED). Smell-smock "licentious man" was in use c. 1550-c. 1900. To smell a rat "be suspicious" is from 1540s.
smelly (adj.) Look up smelly at
1854, from smell (n.) + -y (2). Related: Smelliness.
smelt (v.) Look up smelt at
mid-15c. (implied in smelter), from Dutch or Low German smelten, from Proto-Germanic *smelt- (cognates: Old High German smelzan, German schmelzen "to melt"), from PIE *smeld-, variant of *mel- "soft." Thus the word is from a variant of the stem of Old English meltan "to melt" (see melt (v.)). Related: Smelted; smelting.
smelt (n.) Look up smelt at
Old English smelt "sardine, small salmon-like sea fish," cognate with Dutch smelt "sand eel," Danish smelt (c. 1600). OED notes that it has a peculiar odor (but doesn't suggest a connection with smell); Klein suggests a connection with the way the fish melts in one's mouth. Century Dictionary speculates it means "smooth" and compares Old English smeolt, smylt "serene, smooth."
smelter (n.) Look up smelter at
mid-15c., agent noun from smelt (v.).
SMERSH (n.) Look up SMERSH at
Soviet Army counter-espionage organization begun during World War II, 1953, from Russian abbreviation of smert' shpionam "death to spies." Introduced in English by "James Bond" author Ian Fleming.
smicker (adj.) Look up smicker at
"elegant, fine, gay," from Old English smicere "neat, elegant, beautiful, fair, tasteful." Hence smicker (v.) "look amorously" (1660s); smickering "an amorous inclination" (1690s).
smidge (n.) Look up smidge at
short form of smidgen, 1902, American English dialect.
smidgen (n.) Look up smidgen at
1845, perhaps from Scottish smitch "very small amount; small insignificant person" (1822). Compare Northumbrian dialectal smiddum "small particle of lead ore" (1821).
smilax Look up smilax at
type of lilaceous plant, c. 1600, from Latin, from Greek smilax "blindweed," also used of the yew and a kind of evergreen oak.
smile (v.) Look up smile at
c. 1300, perhaps from Middle Low German *smilen or a Scandinavian source (such as Danish smile "smile," Swedish smila "smile, smirk, simper, fawn"), from Proto-Germanic *smil-, extended form of PIE root *smei- "to laugh, smile" (cognates: Old English smerian "to laugh at, scorn," Old High German smieron "to smile," Latin mirus "wonderful," mirari "to wonder"). Related: Smiled; smiling.

Gradually pushed the usual Old English word, smearcian (modern smirk), into a specific, unpleasant sense. Of the eyes, from 1759. Figuratively, as indicating favor or encouragement, from c. 1400. Romance, Celtic, and Slavic languages tend to use a diminutive of the word for "laugh" to mean "smile" (such as Latin ridere "laugh;" subridere "smile"), perhaps literally "small laugh" or "low laugh."
smile (n.) Look up smile at
1560s, from smile (v.).
smiley (adj.) Look up smiley at
also smily, "inclined to smile," 1848, from smile (n.) + -y (2). Smiley-face (n.) is from 1981; as a computer icon from 1987.
smirch (v.) Look up smirch at
late 15c., "to discolor, to make dirty," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old French esmorcher "to torture," perhaps also "befoul, stain," from es- "out" (see ex-) + morcher "to bite," from Latin morsus, past participle of mordere "to bite" (see mordant). Sense perhaps influenced by smear. Sense of "dishonor, disgrace, discredit" first attested 1820.
smirch (n.) Look up smirch at
1680s, "a soiling mark or smear," from smirch (v.). Figurative use by 1862.
smirk (v.) Look up smirk at
Old English smearcian "to smile." No exact cognates in other languages, but probably related to smerian "to laugh at, scorn," from Proto-Germanic *smer-, *smar-, variant of PIE *smei- "to smile;" see smile (v.), which after c. 1500 gradually restricted smirk to the unpleasant sense "smile affectedly; grin in a malicious or smug way." In some 18c. glossaries smirk is still simply "to smile." Related: Smirked; smirking. The noun is recorded by 1560s.
smirk (n.) Look up smirk at
1550s, from smirk (v.).
Smirnoff (n.) Look up Smirnoff at
proprietary name of a brand of vodka, said to have been in use since 1914.
smite (v.) Look up smite at
"to hit, strike, beat," mid-12c., from Old English smitan, which however is attested only as "to daub, smear on; soil, pollute, blemish, defile" (strong verb, past tense smat, past participle smiten), from Proto-Germanic *smitan (cognates: Swedish smita, Danish smide "to smear, fling," Old Frisian smita, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch smiten "to cast, fling," Dutch smijten "to throw," Old High German smizan "to rub, strike," German schmeißen "to cast, fling," Gothic bismeitan "to spread, smear"). "The development of the various senses is not quite clear, but that of throwing is perh. the original one" [OED]. Watkins suggests "the semantic channel may have been slapping mud on walls in wattle and daub construction" and connects it with PIE *sme- "to smear;" Klein's sources also say this.

Sense of "slay in combat" (c. 1300) is from Biblical expression smite to death, first attested c. 1200. Meaning "visit disastrously" is mid-12c., also Biblical. Meaning "strike with passion or emotion" is from c. 1300.
smith (n.) Look up smith at
Old English smið "blacksmith, armorer, one who works in metal" (jewelers as well as blacksmiths), more broadly, "handicraftsman, practitioner of skilled manual arts" (also including carpenters), from Proto-Germanic *smithaz "skilled worker" (cognates: Old Saxon smith, Old Norse smiðr, Danish smed, Old Frisian smith, Old High German smid, German Schmied, Gothic -smiþa, in aiza-smiþa "coppersmith"), from PIE root *smi- "to cut, work with a sharp instrument" (cognates: Greek smile "knife, chisel"). Attested as a surname since at least c.975.
smith (v.) Look up smith at
Old English smiðian "to forge, fabricate, design," from the source of smith (n.). Related: Smithed; smithing.
Smith & Wesson Look up Smith & Wesson at
proprietary name of a type of firearm, 1860, from the gunsmith firm of Horace Smith (1808-1893) and Daniel B. Wesson (1825-1906) in Springfield, Massachusetts.
smithereens (n.) Look up smithereens at
"small fragments," 1810, smiddereens, from Irish smidirin, diminutive of smiodar "fragment," perhaps with diminutive ending as in Colleen.
Smithfield Look up Smithfield at
place in London, celebrated since at least 17c. as a market for cattle and horses, later the central meat market. In various colloquial expressions. Originally Smethefield, from Old English smethe "smooth" (see smooth (adj.)). Smithfield ham (1908, American English) is from a town of that name in Virginia.
Smithsonian Look up Smithsonian at
"Smithsonian Institute," named for English scientist and philanthropist James Smithson (1765-1829), who left a legacy to the U.S. government to found it. The mineral smithsonite also is named for him.
smithy (n.) Look up smithy at
"workshop of a smith," c. 1300, from Old Norse smiðja (cognate with Old English smiððe), from Proto-Germanic *smith-ja-, from PIE smi- (see smith (n.)).
smitten (adj.) Look up smitten at
mid-13c., "struck hard, afflicted, visited with disaster," past participle adjective from smite. Sense of "inspired with love" is from 1660s.