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smock

[smok]
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noun
  1. a loose, lightweight overgarment worn to protect the clothing while working.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to clothe in a smock.
  2. to draw (a fabric) by needlework into a honeycomb pattern with diamond-shaped recesses.
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Origin of smock

before 1000; Middle English (noun), Old English smocc; orig. name for a garment with a hole for the head; compare Old Norse smjūga to put on (a garment) over the head
Related formssmock·like, adjectiveun·smocked, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for smock

smock

noun
  1. any loose protective garment, worn by artists, laboratory technicians, etc
  2. a woman's loose blouse-like garment, reaching to below the waist, worn over slacks, etc
  3. Also called: smock frock a loose protective overgarment decorated with smocking, worn formerly esp by farm workers
  4. archaic a woman's loose undergarment, worn from the 16th to the 18th centuries
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verb
  1. to ornament (a garment) with smocking
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Derived Formssmocklike, adjective

Word Origin

Old English smocc; related to Old High German smocco, Old Norse smokkr blouse, Middle High German gesmuc decoration
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 smock

n.

Old English smoc "garment worn by women, corresponding to the shirt on men," from Proto-Germanic *smukkaz (cf. Old Norse smokkr "a smock," but this is perhaps from Old English; Old High German smoccho "smock," a rare word; North Frisian smok "woman's shift," but this, too, perhaps from English).

Klein's sources, Barnhart and the OED see this as connected to a group of Germanic sm- words having to do with creeping or pressing close, e.g. Old Norse smjuga "to creep (through an opening), to put on (a garment)," smuga "narrow cleft to creep through; small hole;" Old Swedish smog "a round hole for the head;" Old English smugan, smeogan "to creep," smygel "a burrow." Cf. also German schmiegen "to cling to, press close, nestle;" and Schmuck "jewelry, adornments," from schmucken "to adorn," literally "to dress up."

Watkins, however, traces it to a possible Germanic base *(s)muk- "wetness," figuratively "slipperiness," from PIE root*meug- "slimy, slippery" (see mucus). Either way, the original notion, then, seems generally to have been "garment one creeps or slips into," by the same pattern that produced sleeve and slip (n.2).

Now replaced by euphemistic shift (n.2); smock was the common word down to 18c., and was emblematic of womanhood generally, cf. verb smock "to render (a man) effeminate or womanish" (1610s); smocker "man who consorts with women" (18c.); smock-face "person having a pale, effeminate face" (c.1600). A smock-race (1707) was an old country pastime, a foot-race for women and girls with a smock as a prize. Modern meaning "woman's or child's loose dress or blouse" is from 1907; sense of "loose garment worn by artists over other clothes" is from 1938.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper