Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[smurch] /smɜrtʃ/
verb (used with object)
to discolor or soil; spot or smudge with or as with soot, dust, dirt, etc.
to sully or tarnish (a person, reputation, character, etc.); disgrace; discredit.
a dirty mark or smear, as of soot, dust, dirt, etc.
a stain or blot, as on reputation.
Origin of smirch
First recorded in 1485-95; origin uncertain
Related forms
smirchless, adjective
unsmirched, adjective
1. smear, smut, dirty. 2. taint, blot. 3. smudge, smut, smutch. 4. taint.
1. clean. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for smirch
Historical Examples
  • His will was a scandal, and the horror did not only smirch his good name, it reached to hers.

    Great Possessions Mrs. Wilfrid Ward
  • One could never detect a smirch or a grain of dust upon them.

    A Tramp Abroad, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • He changed his collar, having detected a smirch, and tried the effect of parting his hair on the side, like Garry Cockrell.

    The Varmint Owen Johnson
  • Nothing is too fine for some devils to appropriate and––smirch.

    At the Crossroads Harriet T. Comstock
  • Thank God, those damned lawyers won't dare to plead any cause that could smirch me.

    The Vicar of Tours Honore de Balzac
  • It was a foul deed to seek to shame me in this ugly fashion, and to smirch the honour of the Queen.

  • But by-and-by it may all be used to smirch or brighten unjustly some one's character.

    The Complete Essays of C. D. Warner Charles Dudley Warner
  • After the trial I saw Holker and asked him if he had been helping to smirch any more poor artists.

    The Life of James McNeill Whistler Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • Every time he looked at me 'twas as if he saw a smirch on his escutcheon.

    The Rake's Progress Marjorie Bowen
  • But Lady Wychcote's view of the whole matter had left a smirch on what was so clean and fine.

    Shadows of Flames Amelie Rives
British Dictionary definitions for smirch


verb (transitive)
to dirty; soil
the act of smirching or state of being smirched
a smear or stain
Derived Forms
smircher, noun
Word Origin
C15 smorchen, 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for smirch

late 15c., "to discolor, to make dirty," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old French esmorcher "to torture," perhaps also "befoul, stain," from es- "out" (see ex-) + morcher "to bite," from Latin morsus, past participle of mordere "to bite" (see mordant). Sense perhaps influenced by smear. Sense of "dishonor, disgrace, discredit" first attested 1820.


1680s, "a soiling mark or smear," from smirch (v.). Figurative use by 1862.


1680s, "a soiling mark or smear," from smirch (v.). Figurative use by 1862.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for smirch

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for smirch

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for smirch