smear

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
  1. verb
    make a smudge on; soil by smudging
    synonyms: blur, smudge, smutch
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    types:
    resmudge
    smudge again
    dust
    rub the dust over a surface so as to blur the outlines of a shape
    type of:
    rub
    move over something with pressure
  2. verb
    cover (a surface) by smearing (a substance) over it
    smear the wall with paint”
    synonyms: daub
    daub
    apply to a surface
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    types:
    blood
    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:
    cover
    provide with a covering or cause to be covered
  3. verb
    stain by smearing or daubing with a dirty substance
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    types:
    moil
    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
  4. verb
    charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone
    synonyms: asperse, besmirch, calumniate, defame, denigrate, slander, smirch, sully
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    types:
    assassinate
    destroy or damage seriously, as of someone's reputation
    libel
    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
  5. noun
    a blemish made by dirt
    synonyms: blot, daub, slur, smirch, smudge, spot
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    types:
    blotch, splodge, splotch
    an irregularly shaped spot
    fingermark, fingerprint
    a smudge made by a (dirty) finger
    inkblot
    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)
  6. noun
    a thin tissue or blood sample spread on a glass slide and stained for cytologic examination and diagnosis under a microscope
    synonyms: cytologic smear, cytosmear
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    types:
    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
  7. noun
    an act that brings discredit to the person who does it
    synonyms: blot, smirch, spot, stain
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    type of:
    error, fault, mistake
    a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention
  8. noun
    slanderous defamation
    synonyms: malignment, vilification
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    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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