[ smahrm ]
/ smɑrm /


behavior or speech that is smarmy.

Origin of smarm

First recorded in 1935–40; back formation from smarmy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for smarm

British Dictionary definitions for smarm


/ (smɑːm) British informal /


(tr often foll by down) to flatten (the hair, etc) with cream or grease
(when intr, foll by up to) to ingratiate oneself (with)


obsequious flattery

Word Origin for smarm

C19: of unknown origin
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 smarm



1914, from colloquial verb smalm, smarm "to smear, bedaub" (the hair, with pomade), 1847, of unknown origin, perhaps somehow suggestive of the action. Verbal meaning "to smear with flattery" is from 1902.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper