To smear something is to smudge or blur it. You might literally smear your pen-and-ink drawing, or figuratively have your reputation smeared by getting caught in a lie.

You can also smear things physically by smoothing them onto another surface, like when you smear lip balm on your mouth or smear cream cheese on your bagel. When you smear a person, however, you cause them real harm by hurting their reputation badly. A politician might smear an opponent by falsely claiming they lied about where they went to college, for example. That kind of smear can be hard to erase.

Definitions of smear

v make a smudge on; soil by smudging

blur, smudge, smutch
smudge again
rub the dust over a surface so as to blur the outlines of a shape
Type of:
move over something with pressure

v cover (a surface) by smearing (a substance) over it

smear the wall with paint”
apply to a surface
smear with blood, as in a hunting initiation rite, where the face of a person is smeared with the blood of the kill
Type of:
provide with a covering or cause to be covered

v stain by smearing or daubing with a dirty substance

moisten or soil
besmirch, smirch
smear so as to make dirty or stained
Type of:
begrime, bemire, colly, dirty, grime, soil
make soiled, filthy, or dirty

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

asperse, besmirch, calumniate, defame, denigrate, slander, 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

n a blemish made by dirt

blot, daub, slur, smirch, smudge, spot
blotch, splodge, splotch
an irregularly shaped spot
fingermark, fingerprint
a smudge made by a (dirty) finger
a blot made with ink
Type of:
blemish, defect, mar
a mark or flaw that spoils the appearance of something (especially on a person's body)

n a thin tissue or blood sample spread on a glass slide and stained for cytologic examination and diagnosis under a microscope

cytologic smear, cytosmear
show 8 types...
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alimentary tract smear
any of several cytologic smears obtained from different parts of the alimentary tract; obtained by specialized lavage techniques and used mainly to diagnose cancer in those parts
Pap smear, Papanicolaou smear, cervical smear
a sample of secretions and superficial cells of the uterine cervix and uterus; examined with a microscope to detect any abnormal cells
bronchoscopic smear, lower respiratory tract smear, sputum smear
any of several cytologic smears obtained from different parts of the lower respiratory tract; used for cytologic study of cancer and other diseases of the lungs
vaginal smear
smear taken from the vaginal mucosa for cytological analysis
esophageal smear
alimentary tract smear of material obtained from the esophagus
gastric smear
alimentary tract smear of material obtained from the stomach
oral smear
alimentary tract smear of material obtained from the mouth
duodenal smear, paraduodenal smear
alimentary tract smear of material obtained from the duodenum
Type of:
cytologic specimen
a specimen used for cytologic examination and diagnosis

n an act that brings discredit to the person who does it

blot, smirch, spot, stain
Type of:
error, fault, mistake
a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention

n slanderous defamation

malignment, vilification
Type of:
calumniation, calumny, defamation, hatchet job, obloquy, traducement
a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone's words or actions

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