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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.
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Origin of besmirch

First recorded in 1590–1600; be- + smirch
Related formsbe·smirch·er, nounun·be·smirched, adjective

Synonyms

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

defileslanderblackendishonorsmearsoilstainblotsmudgediscolor

Examples from the Web for besmirch

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Xenie, will you permit this man to besmirch the name of him whom God hath sent to you?

    The Minister of Evil

    William Le Queux

  • Also I want to besmirch the rich, by designating them by a slang expression.

    Moral

    Ludwig Thoma

  • It was too beautiful to risk or endanger or besmirch with any danger of scandal.

    Excuse Me!

    Rupert Hughes

  • She had nothing but her reputation, and I was about to besmirch it!

  • I will idealise you until you besmirch yourself—but you are no child, to do that unknowingly.

    The Barrier

    Allen French


British Dictionary definitions for besmirch

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)
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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 besmirch

v.

1590s, from be- + smirch.

Our Gayness and our Gilt are all besmyrcht. ["Henry V," IV.iii.110]

Related: Besmirched; besmirching.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper