[ bih-smurch ]
See synonyms for: besmirchbesmirched on

verb (used with object)
  1. to soil; tarnish; discolor.

  2. to detract from the honor or luster of: to besmirch someone's good name.

Origin of besmirch

First recorded in 1590–1600; be- + smirch

Other words for besmirch

Other words from besmirch

  • be·smirch·er, noun
  • un·be·smirched, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use besmirch in a sentence

  • He has a sense of honor and an instinct for revenge when he feels his honor has been besmirched.

  • Because the injustice and absurdity of English law had distorted and besmirched her own perfectly legitimate action.

    Marriage la mode | Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • Nowhere was there a cloud—a speckless day in the middle of a week that had threatened to keep the sky besmirched.

    An Arkansas Planter | Opie Percival Read
  • We know a butcher whose children are not merely dirty—they are fearfully and wonderfully besmirched by the hand of an artist.

  • The stove smoked a great deal and the white walls were soon besmirched with a layer of soot.

    The Home of the Blizzard | Douglas Mawson
  • Quite close to the young lovers a heathen cut down a Christian who was carrying the besmirched head of a Muse.

    Serapis, Complete | Georg Ebers

British Dictionary definitions for besmirch


/ (bɪˈsmɜːtʃ) /

  1. to make dirty; soil

  2. to reduce the brightness or lustre of

  1. 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