Origin of smooth

before 1050; (adj.) Middle English smothe, late Old English smōth; compare Middle English smethe, Old English smēthe smooth; cognate with Old Saxon smōthi; (v.) late Middle English smothen, derivative of the adj.; replacing Middle English smethen, Old English smēth(i)an
Related formssmooth·a·ble, adjectivesmooth·er, nounsmooth·ly, adverbsmooth·ness, nouno·ver·smooth, adjectiveo·ver·smooth·ly, adverbo·ver·smooth·ness, nounpre·smooth, verb (used with object)re·smooth, verb (used with object)un·smooth, adjectiveun·smooth·ly, adverbun·smooth·ness, nounun·smoothed, adjective

Synonyms for smooth

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for smoothness

Contemporary Examples of smoothness

Historical Examples of smoothness

British Dictionary definitions for smoothness



resting in the same plane; without bends or irregularities
silky to the touchsmooth velvet
lacking roughness of surface; flat
tranquil or unruffledsmooth temper
lacking obstructions or difficulties
  1. suave or persuasive, esp as suggestive of insincerity
  2. (in combination)smooth-tongued
(of the skin) free from hair
of uniform consistencysmooth batter
not erratic; free from joltssmooth driving
not harsh or astringenta smooth wine
having all projections worn awaysmooth tyres
maths (of a curve) differentiable at every point
phonetics without preliminary or simultaneous aspiration
gentle to the ear; flowing
physics (of a plane, surface, etc) regarded as being frictionless


in a calm or even manner; smoothly

verb (mainly tr)

(also intr often foll by down) to make or become flattened or without roughness or obstructions
(often foll by out or away) to take or rub (away) in order to make smoothshe smoothed out the creases in her dress
to make calm; soothe
to make easiersmooth his path
electrical engineering to remove alternating current ripple from the output of a direct current power supply
obsolete to make more polished or refined


the smooth part of something
the act of smoothing
tennis squash badminton the side of a racket on which the binding strings form a continuous lineCompare rough (def. 27)
See also smooth over
Derived Formssmoothable, adjectivesmoother, nounsmoothly, adverbsmoothness, noun

Word Origin for smooth

Old English smōth; related to Old Saxon māthmundi gentle-minded, smōthi smooth
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 smoothness

late 14c., "smoothness, evenness," from smooth (adj.) + -ness.



Old English smoð "smooth, serene, calm," variant of smeðe "free from roughness, not harsh, polished; soft; suave; agreeable," of unknown origin and with no known cognates. Of words, looks, "pleasant, polite, sincere" late 14c., but later "flattering, insinuating" (mid-15c.). Slang meaning "superior, classy, clever" is attested from 1893. Sense of "stylish" is from 1922.

Smooth-bore in reference to guns is from 1812. smooth talk (v.) is recorded from 1950. A 1599 dictionary has smoothboots "a flatterer, a faire spoken man, a cunning tongued fellow." The usual Old English form was smeðe, and there is a dialectal smeeth found in places names, e.g. Smithfield, Smedley.



late Old English smoþ "to make smooth," replacing smeðan "to smooth, soften, polish; appease, soothe;" smeðian "smoothen, become smooth," from the source of smooth (adj.). Meaning "to make smooth" is c.1200. Related: Smoothed; smoothing. Middle English also had a verb form smoothen (mid-14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with smoothness


In addition to the idioms beginning with smooth

  • smooth as silk
  • smooth over
  • smooth sailing

also see:

  • take the rough with the smooth
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.