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[smuhg] /smʌg/
adjective, smugger, smuggest.
contentedly confident of one's ability, superiority, or correctness; complacent.
trim; spruce; smooth; sleek.
Origin of smug
1545-55; perhaps < Middle Dutch smuc neat, pretty, nice
Related forms
smugly, adverb
smugness, noun
unsmug, adjective
unsmugly, adverb
unsmugness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for smugness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There were both earnestness and tenderness in his tones—the smugness of the physician was gone.

    The Landloper Holman Day
  • "Our regular price," and you catch a sneer beneath the smugness of the Voice.

    Roast Beef, Medium Edna Ferber
  • Nor did du Fresne's smugness help Lindsay's assurance a bit.

    The Ambassador Samuel Kimball Merwin
  • They are inimical to smugness and to complacent satisfaction.

    The Purple Heights Marie Conway Oemler
  • But, is there not just a faint suggestion of smugness in her mien?

    Plum Pudding

    Christopher Morley
British Dictionary definitions for smugness


adjective smugger, smuggest
excessively self-satisfied or complacent
(archaic) trim or neat
Derived Forms
smugly, adverb
smugness, noun
Word Origin
C16: of Germanic origin; compare Low German smuck neat
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 smugness



1550s, "trim, neat, spruce, smart," possibly an alteration of Low German smuk "trim, neat," from Middle Low German smücken "to adorn" (originally "to dress," secondary sense of words meaning "to creep or slip into"), from the same source as smock. The meaning "having a self-satisfied air" is from 1701, an extension of the sense of "smooth, sleek" (1580s), which was commonly used of attractive women and girls. Related: Smugly; smugness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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