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  1. smart, brisk, or strong, as a breeze.
  2. Chiefly British Slang. smashing.

Origin of smacking

First recorded in 1585–95; smack2 + -ing2
Related formssmack·ing·ly, adverb


  1. a taste or flavor, especially a slight flavor distinctive or suggestive of something: The chicken had just a smack of garlic.
  2. a trace, touch, or suggestion of something.
  3. a taste, mouthful, or small quantity.
verb (used without object)
  1. to have a taste, flavor, trace, or suggestion: Your politeness smacks of condescension.

Origin of smack1

before 1000; (noun) Middle English smacke, Old English smæc; cognate with Middle Low German smak, German Geschmack taste; (v.) Middle English smacken to perceive by taste, have a (specified) taste, derivative of the noun; compare German schmacken


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. savor. 2. hint. 4. taste, suggest.


verb (used with object)
  1. to strike sharply, especially with the open hand or a flat object.
  2. to drive or send with a sharp, resounding blow or stroke: to smack a ball over a fence.
  3. to close and open (the lips) smartly so as to produce a sharp sound, often as a sign of relish, as in eating.
  4. to kiss with or as with a loud sound.
verb (used without object)
  1. to smack the lips.
  2. to collide, come together, or strike something forcibly.
  3. to make a sharp sound as of striking against something.
  1. a sharp, resounding blow, especially with something flat.
  2. a smacking of the lips, as in relish or anticipation.
  3. a resounding or loud kiss.
adverb Informal.
  1. suddenly and violently: He rode smack up against the side of the house.
  2. directly; straight: The street runs smack into the center of town.
Verb Phrases
  1. smack down, Slang. to humble (an arrogant person); rebuke or criticize severely.

Origin of smack2

1550–60; imitative; compare Dutch, Low German smakken, German (dial.) schmacken
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for smacking

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "It has a twang of the wine cask in it," said one, smacking his lips.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • The porter could hardly refrain, from smacking his lips with an air of relish as he said this.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • We can none of us go about smacking innocent folks just for the fun of it.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • "Nothing is better before soup," declared Boche, smacking his lips.


    Emile Zola

  • Lantier, who felt gay, was sucking his barley-sugar, and smacking his lips.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for smacking


  1. brisk; livelya smacking breeze


  1. a smell or flavour that is distinctive though faint
  2. a distinctive trace or touchthe smack of corruption
  3. a small quantity, esp a mouthful or taste
verb (intr foll by of)
  1. to have the characteristic smell or flavour (of something)to smack of the sea
  2. to have an element suggestive (of something)his speeches smacked of bigotry

Word Origin

Old English smæc; related to Old High German smoc, Icelandic smekkr a taste, Dutch smaak


  1. (tr) to strike or slap smartly, with or as if with the open hand
  2. to strike or send forcibly or loudly or to be struck or sent forcibly or loudly
  3. to open and close (the lips) loudly, esp to show pleasure
  4. (tr) to kiss noisily
  1. a sharp resounding slap or blow with something flat, or the sound of such a blow
  2. a loud kiss
  3. a sharp sound made by the lips, as in enjoyment
  4. have a smack at informal, mainly British to attempt
  5. smack in the eye informal, mainly British a snub or setback
adverb informal
  1. directly; squarely
  2. with a smack; sharply and unexpectedly

Word Origin

C16: from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch smacken, probably of imitative origin


  1. a slang word for heroin

Word Origin

C20: perhaps from Yiddish schmeck


  1. a sailing vessel, usually sloop-rigged, used in coasting and fishing along the British coast
  2. a fishing vessel equipped with a well for keeping the catch alive

Word Origin

C17: from Low German smack or Dutch smak, of unknown origin
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 smacking



"a taste, flavor, savor" especially a slight flavor that suggests something, from Old English smæc "taste; scent, odor," from Proto-Germanic *smak- (cf. Old Frisian smek, Middle Dutch smæck, Dutch smaak, Old High German smac, German Geschmack, Swedish smak, Danish smag), from a Germanic and Baltic root *smeg- meaning "to taste" (cf. Lithuanian smaguriai "dainties," smagus "pleasing"). Meaning "a trace (of something)" is attested from 1530s.



"make a sharp noise with the lips," 1550s, probably of imitative origin (see smack (v.2)). With adverbial force, "suddenly, directly," from 1782; extended form smack-dab is attested from 1892, American English colloquial (slap-dab is from 1886).



single-masted sailboat, 1610s, probably from Dutch or Low German smak "sailboat," perhaps from smakken "to fling, dash" (see smack (v.2)), perhaps so-called from the sound made by its sails. French semaque, Spanish zumaca, Italian semacca probably are Germanic borrowings.



"heroin," 1942, American English slang, probably an alteration of schmeck "a drug," especially heroin (1932), from Yiddish schmeck "a sniff."



"to slap a flat surface with the hand," 1835, from smack (n.) in this sense; perhaps influenced by Low German smacken "to strike, throw," which is likely of imitative origin (cf. Swedish smak "slap," Middle Low German smacken, Frisian smakke, Dutch smakken "to fling down," Lithuanian smagiu "to strike, knock down, whip").



mid-13c., "to smell (something"); mid-14c., "to taste (something), perceive by taste" (transitive); late 14c. "to have a taste, taste of" (intransitive), from smack (n.1). Cf. Old English smæccan "to taste," Old Frisian smakia Middle Dutch smaecken, Old High German smakken "have a savor, scent, or taste," German schmecken "taste, try, smell, perceive." Sometimes also smatch. Now mainly in verbal figurative use smacks of ... (first attested 1590s). "Commonly but erroneously regarded as identical with [smack (n.2)], as if 'taste' proceeds from 'smacking the lips.'" [Century Dictionary]



"smart, sharp sound made by the lips," 1560s, from smack (v.1). Meaning "a loud kiss" is recorded from c.1600. Meaning "sharp sound made by hitting something with the flat of the hand" is from c.1746.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

smacking in Medicine


  1. Heroin.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.