To besmirch means to dirty or tarnish, particularly someone's reputation — like when you call Billy a cheater at kickball (even though you know he's just better at bunting than you).

Besmirch may sound kind of funny, but it goes hand in hand with other hurtful words like defame and slander. It can also mean to literally stain something. So that time you tracked mud all over the new white carpet and then blamed it on your little brother? That was a double besmirching — dirtying the rug and then falsely accusing a sibling.

Definitions of besmirch

v smear so as to make dirty or stained

Type of:
stain by smearing or daubing with a dirty substance

v charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone

asperse, calumniate, defame, denigrate, slander, smear, smirch, sully
destroy or damage seriously, as of someone's reputation
print slanderous statements against
badmouth, drag through the mud, malign, traduce
speak unfavorably about
Type of:
accuse, charge
blame for, make a claim of wrongdoing or misbehavior against

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