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besmirch

[bih-smurch]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to soil; tarnish; discolor.
  2. 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 formsbe·smirch·er, nounun·be·smirched, adjective

Synonyms

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2. stain, tarnish, soil, blacken, dishonor, discredit, sully, besmear.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for besmirched

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He hinted to Robert that Susan's history was besmirched with shame.

    A Handful of Stars

    Frank W. Boreham

  • The walls were bare and besmirched, and upon them were several mottoes and placards.

    The Quest

    Frederik van Eeden

  • For as yet machinery and reeking factories had not besmirched the country-side.

    Mary Anerley

    R. D. Blackmore

  • These do fear lest they be besmirched by fellowship with the mean and ailing.

    Star of Mercia

    Blanche Devereux

  • I know, mother, that the people's souls are foul and besmirched.

    Mother

    Maksim Gorky


British Dictionary definitions for besmirched

besmirch

verb (tr)
  1. to make dirty; soil
  2. to reduce the brightness or lustre of
  3. 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

Word Origin and History for besmirched

besmirch

v.

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