Etymology
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smirch (v.)

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 mordēre "to bite" (see mordant). Sense perhaps influenced by smear. Sense of "dishonor, disgrace, discredit" first attested 1820.

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smirch (n.)

1680s, "a soiling mark or smear," from smirch (v.). Figurative use by 1862.

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besmirch (v.)

"to soil with soot or mud, to sully," now usually figurative, 1590s, from be- + smirch.

Our Gayness and our Gilt are all besmyrcht. ["Henry V," IV.iii.110]

Related: Besmirched; besmirching.

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