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smitten

[ smit-n ]
/ ˈsmɪt n /
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adjective

struck, as with a hard blow.
grievously or disastrously stricken or afflicted.
very much in love.

verb

a past participle of smite.

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of smitten

Middle English word dating back to 1200–50; see origin at smite, -en3

OTHER WORDS FROM smitten

un·smit·ten, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does smitten mean?

Smitten is most popularly used to mean deeply in love.

It can also mean infatuated due to being extremely impressed or fond of someone or something, as in I’m just smitten with your new hairstyle or She’s smitten with her new granddaughter. Another way to say any of these things is in love.

In a more negative sense, smitten can mean severely or intensely affected or afflicted, such as by illness.

All of these senses derive from the fact that smitten is the past participle of the verb smite, which means to strike, damage, injure, attack, or afflict. While smite is often associated with archaic uses (such as its use in the King James Bible to refer to the wrath of God), most senses of the word smitten don’t have this association.

Example: I can tell just by the look in your eyes that you’re smitten. What’s his name?

Where does smitten come from?

The first records of smitten come from the 1200s. The verb smite is recorded earlier, before 900. It derives from the Middle English word smiten and is related to several Germanic words, like the Old High German smīzan, “to smear,” and the German schmeissen, “to throw.” Smitten is the past participle of smite is the exact same way that bitten is the past participle of bite.

The most common use of smitten is to imply that someone is in love, especially so deeply that it’s just obvious—a person who’s smitten in this way is always smiling. People also use smitten to express that they’re infatuated with something or have a strong (and often new) fondness for it. People are usually smitten with a new puppy. A fashion critic might say they’re smitten with a designer’s new collection.

Similar ways of saying this are in love with and taken by. You can be smitten with things, but you can also be smitten by things, meaning you’re strongly affected by them, as in I was completely smitten by her charm. Often, this sense of the word applies to negative situations, such as being smitten by the flu. In these cases, smitten is very similar to the word stricken or afflicted.

Smitten can still be used literally as the past participle of smite (in which case it means “struck down”), but this is much less common.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to smitten?

  • smite (verb)
  • unsmitten (adjective)

What are some synonyms for smitten?

What are some words that often get used in discussing smitten?

How is smitten used in real life?

Smitten is most commonly used to imply that someone is in love, but it’s also often used to refer to an infatuated fondness.

 

 

Try using smitten!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym for smitten?

A. affected
B. infatuated
C. indifferent
D. taken

Example sentences from the Web for smitten

British Dictionary definitions for smitten

smitten
/ (ˈsmɪtən) /

verb

a past participle of smite

adjective

(postpositive) affected by love (for)
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
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