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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Smirch \Smirch\, v. t. [From the root of smear.] To smear with something which stains, or makes dirty; to smutch; to begrime; to soil; to sully.

I'll . . . with a kind of umber smirch my face.


Smirch \Smirch\, n. A smutch; a dirty stain.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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.


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


Etymology 1 n. 1 Dirt 2 (context of a reputation English) Stain vb. To dirty#Verb; to make dirty#Adjective.

  1. n. a blemish made by dirt; "he had a smudge on his cheek" [syn: smudge, spot, blot, daub, smear, slur]

  2. an act that brings discredit to the person who does it; "he made a huge blot on his copybook" [syn: blot, smear, spot, stain]

  3. v. smear so as to make dirty or stained [syn: besmirch]

  4. charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone; "The journalists have defamed me!" "The article in the paper sullied my reputation" [syn: defame, slander, asperse, denigrate, calumniate, smear, sully, besmirch]

Usage examples of "smirch".

Almond eyes widened as the guard saw a moving smirch of blackness that blotted out all sight of Koy Shan.

And close by, all smirched with soot, was the base of the altar, which the Aeolid Phrixus once set up to Zeus, the alder of fugitives, when he sacrificed the golden wonder at the bidding of Hermes who graciously met him on the way.

There was nothing yet to indicate a wish on Ida's part to avoid inartistic associations, and deep in his heart he was compelled to admit that she had never appeared so supremely beautiful as when she looked love and welcome into the eyes of the smirched and disheartened man to whom nature gave the best right to claim these gifts.

But Alverstoke, wise in the ways of dogs, preserved his face from being generously licked, and his exquisitely fashioned coat of Bath Superfine from being smirched by muddy paws, by catching the animal’s forearms, and holding him at bay.

Their quacks and trills increased in proportion to the strength of the iron glow in the east, whose warm facade was smudged by cloud floatlets as a smith's ruddy countenance is smirched by soot and ash.

The innkeeper, rotund, rubicund, and balding—as seemed almost obligatory for those who followed his trade—and swathed in a large smirched apron, stood before him, bowing repeatedly.

There were rumors about her, attributing every vice and sin to her, just as there were rumors indicating that she was the most virtuous female ever to grace the world with her presence since Eve had smirched mankind in the Garden of Eden.

Why do I see myself as smirched with a stain that will never leave me?

Leach had evidently done his task with a thoroughness that Mugridge had not forgiven, for words followed and evil names involving smirched ancestries.

It was a wild face, smeared with dirt and grass stains, smirched here and there with old patches of dried blood, shadowed by a stubble of beard.