• synonyms


  1. a dab, as of cream cheese, spread on a roll, bagel, or the like.
  2. a number of related things, ideas, etc., resulting in a unified appearance, attitude, plan, or the like (usually used in the phrase the whole schmear).
  3. a bribe.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to spread; smear: Schmear it on the bread.
  2. to bribe.
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Origin of schmear

1960–65; apparently < Yiddish shmirn to smear, grease; compare Middle High German smirwen (German schmieren); see smear
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for schmear



  1. US informal a situation, matter, or affair (esp in the phrase the whole schmear)
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Word Origin

C20: from Yiddish shmirn to smear or grease
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 schmear


1961, "bribery," from Yiddish shmir "spread," from shmirn "to grease, smear," from Middle High German smiren, from Old High German smirwen "to smear" (see smear (v.); cf. slang to grease (someone's) palm "to bribe"). Phrase the whole schmear "the entire affair" is attested from 1969, originally show business jargon,

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper