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90s Slang You Should Know


[bih-smurch] /bɪˈsmɜrtʃ/
verb (used with object)
to soil; tarnish; discolor.
to detract from the honor or luster of:
to besmirch someone's good name.
Origin of besmirch
First recorded in 1590-1600; be- + smirch
Related forms
besmircher, noun
unbesmirched, adjective
2. stain, tarnish, soil, blacken, dishonor, discredit, sully, besmear. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for besmirch
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Do honest men, believing in themselves, besmirch their own honor by deliberate lying?

    My Attainment of the Pole Frederick A. Cook
  • Xenie, will you permit this man to besmirch the name of him whom God hath sent to you?

    The Minister of Evil William Le Queux
  • It was too beautiful to risk or endanger or besmirch with any danger of scandal.

    Excuse Me! Rupert Hughes
  • Also I want to besmirch the rich, by designating them by a slang expression.

    Moral Ludwig Thoma
  • But Diaz cares immensely about the fair name of Mexico, which they knew they had done for years all they could to besmirch.

    The American Egypt Channing Arnold
  • She had nothing but her reputation, and I was about to besmirch it!

  • Thus, desirous to hide his cruelty, he chose rather to besmirch his friend than to bring disgrace on his own head.

    The Danish History, Books I-IX Saxo Grammaticus ("Saxo the Learned")
  • Love was too fine and noble, and he was too loyal a lover for him to besmirch love with criticism.

    Martin Eden Jack London
British Dictionary definitions for besmirch


verb (transitive)
to make dirty; soil
to reduce the brightness or lustre of
to sully (often in the phrase besmirch (a person's) name)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for besmirch

1590s, from be- + smirch.

Our Gayness and our Gilt are all besmyrcht. ["Henry V," IV.iii.110]
Related: Besmirched; besmirching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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