verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to become stifled or suffocated; be prevented from breathing.
to be stifled; be suppressed or concealed.


Origin of smother

1125–75; (noun) Middle English smorther dense smoke; akin to Old English smorian to suffocate; (v.) Middle English smo(r)theren, derivative of the noun
Related formssmoth·er·a·ble, adjectivehalf-smoth·ered, adjectiveun·smoth·er·a·ble, adjectiveun·smoth·ered, adjectiveun·smoth·er·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for half-smothered

Historical Examples of half-smothered

British Dictionary definitions for half-smothered



to suffocate or stifle by cutting off or being cut off from the air
(tr) to surround (with) or envelop (in)he smothered her with love
(tr) to extinguish (a fire) by covering so as to cut it off from the air
to be or cause to be suppressed or stifledsmother a giggle
(tr) to cook or serve (food) thickly covered with sauce, etc


anything, such as a cloud of smoke, that stifles
a profusion or turmoil
archaic a state of smouldering or a smouldering fire
Derived Formssmothery, adjective

Word Origin for smother

Old English smorian to suffocate; related to Middle Low German smōren
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 half-smothered



c.1200, "to suffocate with smoke," from smother (n.), earlier smorthre "dense, suffocating smoke" (late 12c.), from stem of Old English smorian "to suffocate, choke, strangle, stifle," cognate with Middle Dutch smoren, German schmoren; possibly connected to smolder. Meaning "to kill by suffocation in any manner" is from 1540s; sense of "to extinguish a fire" is from 1590s. Sense of "stifle, repress" is first recorded 1570s; meaning "to cover thickly (with some substance)" is from 1590s. Related: Smothered; smothering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper