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[smohk] /smoʊk/
the visible vapor and gases given off by a burning or smoldering substance, especially the gray, brown, or blackish mixture of gases and suspended carbon particles resulting from the combustion of wood, peat, coal, or other organic matter.
something resembling this, as vapor or mist, flying particles, etc.
something unsubstantial, evanescent, or without result:
Their hopes and dreams proved to be smoke.
an obscuring condition:
the smoke of controversy.
an act or spell of smoking something, especially tobacco:
They had a smoke during the intermission.
something for smoking, as a cigar or cigarette:
This is the best smoke on the market.
Slang. marijuana.
Slang. a homemade drink consisting of denatured alcohol and water.
Physics, Chemistry. a system of solid particles suspended in a gaseous medium.
a bluish or brownish gray color.
verb (used without object), smoked, smoking.
to give off or emit smoke, as in burning.
to give out smoke offensively or improperly, as a stove.
to send forth steam or vapor, dust, or the like.
to draw into the mouth and puff out the smoke of tobacco or the like, as from a pipe or cigarette.
Slang. to ride or travel with great speed.
  1. to flee.
  2. to abscond.
verb (used with object), smoked, smoking.
to draw into the mouth and puff out the smoke of:
to smoke tobacco.
to use (a pipe, cigarette, etc.) in this process.
to expose to smoke.
to fumigate (rooms, furniture, etc.).
to cure (meat, fish, etc.) by exposure to smoke.
to color or darken by smoke.
Verb phrases
smoke out,
  1. to drive from a refuge by means of smoke.
  2. to force into public view or knowledge; reveal:
    to smoke out the leaders of the spy ring.
go up / end in smoke, to terminate without producing a result; be unsuccessful:
All our dreams went up in smoke.
Origin of smoke
before 1000; (noun) Middle English; Old English smoca; (v.) Middle English smoken, Old English smocian
Related forms
smokelike, adjective
antismoke, adjective, noun
unsmoked, adjective
unsmoking, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for smoke
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And now, Uncle Paul, if you don't object I'll take out my pipe and have a smoke.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • She had boasted to him once of having learned to smoke at school.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • He tossed them onto the table, and Hal Dozier rolled his smoke in silence.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • As I eat my breakfast and smoke my pipe, I ponder over my task.

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • And now they all vanish in a puff of smoke from the chimney.

British Dictionary definitions for smoke


the product of combustion, consisting of fine particles of carbon carried by hot gases and air
any cloud of fine particles suspended in a gas
  1. the act of smoking tobacco or other substances, esp in a pipe or as a cigarette or cigar
  2. the duration of smoking such substances
  1. a cigarette or cigar
  2. a substance for smoking, such as pipe tobacco or marijuana
something with no concrete or lasting substance: everything turned to smoke
a thing or condition that obscures
any of various colours similar to that of smoke, esp a dark grey with a bluish, yellowish, or greenish tinge
go up in smoke, end up in smoke
  1. to come to nothing
  2. to burn up vigorously
  3. to flare up in anger
(intransitive) to emit smoke or the like, sometimes excessively or in the wrong place
  1. to draw in on (a burning cigarette, etc) and exhale the smoke
  2. to use tobacco for smoking
(intransitive) (slang) to use marijuana for smoking
(transitive) to bring (oneself) into a specified state by smoking
(transitive) to subject or expose to smoke
(transitive) to cure (meat, fish, cheese, etc) by treating with smoke
(transitive) to fumigate or purify the air of (rooms, etc)
(transitive) to darken (glass, etc) by exposure to smoke
(intransitive) (slang) to move, drive, ride, etc, very fast
(transitive) (obsolete) to tease or mock
(transitive) (archaic) to suspect or detect
See also smoke out
Derived Forms
smokable, smokeable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English smoca (n); related to Middle Dutch smieken to emit smoke


the Smoke, short for Big Smoke
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 smoke

late Old English smoca (rare) "fumes and volatile material given off by burning substances," related to smeocan "give off smoke," from Proto-Germanic *smuk- (cf. Middle Dutch smooc, Dutch smook, Middle High German smouch, German Schmauch), from PIE root *smeug- "to smoke; smoke" (cf. Armenian mux "smoke," Greek smykhein "to burn with smoldering flame," Old Irish much, Welsh mwg "smoke").

The more usual noun was Old English smec, which became dialectal smeech. Abusive meaning "black person" attested from 1913, American English. Smoke-eater "firefighter" is c.1930. Figurative phrase go up in smoke "be destroyed" (as if by fire) is from 1933. Smoke alarm first attested 1936; smoke-detector from 1957.


Old English smocian "to produce smoke, emit smoke," especially as a result of burning, from smoke (n.1). Meaning "to drive out or away or into the open by means of smoke" is attested from 1590s. Meaning "to apply smoke to, to cure (bacon, fish, etc.) by exposure to smoke" is first attested 1590s. In connection with tobacco, "draw fumes from burning into the mouth," first recorded 1604 in James I's "Counterblast to Tobacco." Related: Smoked; smoking. Smoking gun in figurative sense of "incontestable evidence" is from 1974.


"cigarette," slang, 1882, from smoke (n.1). Also "opium" (1884). Meaning "a spell of smoking tobacco" is recorded from 1835.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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smoke in Science
A mixture of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and other gases, usually containing particles of soot or other solids, produced by the burning of carbon-containing materials such as wood and coal.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for smoke



  1. A cigarette or cigar: I mooched a couple of smokes (1882+)
  2. Marijuana; pot: something called smoke or snow (1940s+ Narcotics)
  3. Inferior liquor, esp denatured alcohol: drink that smoke, then pass out petrified (1904+ Hoboes)
  4. (also smoke and mirrors) Artful lies; talk meant to deceive; bullshit: Those sections of the article are pure smoke (1565+)
  5. A black person (1913+)
  6. A very fast fastball: Has Joe lost his smoke?/ the Yankees' smoke-throwing reliever (1912+ Baseball)
  7. A very fast runner, vehicle, etc: He's no smoke as for speed (1980s+)


  1. To shoot someone dead; plug: This wasn't a Jamaican whore got smoked in some vacant lot (1926+ Underworld & police)
  2. To be executed in a gas chamber: still faced death and might one day be smoked (1970s+ Underworld and police)
  3. : pitchers are supposed to be cranked up and smoking
  4. To be very angry; burn, steam: He was smoking for about an hour after she called him that (1548+)
  5. (also smoke off) To defeat utterly; trounce; clobber: He didn't simply beat Carl Lewis. He smoked him/ The dreaded Bostons came to town, and the Brewers smoked 'em on opening day/ For a time we ''smoked off'' our rivals (1980s+)
  6. To hit very hard; clobber: ''Just let me take my jacket off,'' and bang, the guy from Chicago smokes him/ Alomar smoked a single to left (1980s+)

Related Terms

blow smoke, bring scunnion, go up in smoke, j, joy smoke

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with smoke


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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