verb (used with object)

to soil; tarnish; discolor.
to detract from the honor or luster of: to besmirch someone's good name.

Origin of besmirch

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

Synonyms for besmirch Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for besmirched

Contemporary Examples of besmirched

Historical Examples of besmirched

  • "Let my name be besmirched, provided only my country is saved," is Quesnel's answer to Teulier.

    Romain Rolland

    Stefan Zweig

  • Only a few more days and her name, which for the moment he had cleared, would be besmirched in earnest.


    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • Theres th muck o a dozen greasy rascals here, she chattered, as she besmirched him.

    Back o' the Moon

    Oliver Onions

  • I know, mother, that the people's souls are foul and besmirched.


    Maksim Gorky

  • But since that time the barbarous castigation of her father had beclouded and besmirched her very soul.

    The Goose Man

    Jacob Wassermann

British Dictionary definitions for besmirched


verb (tr)

to make dirty; soil
to reduce the brightness or lustre of
to sully (often in the phrase besmirch (a person's) name)
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 besmirched



1590s, from be- + smirch.

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

Related: Besmirched; besmirching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper