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adjective, smug·ger, smug·gest.
  1. contentedly confident of one's ability, superiority, or correctness; complacent.
  2. trim; spruce; smooth; sleek.

Origin of smug

1545–55; perhaps < Middle Dutch smuc neat, pretty, nice
Related formssmug·ly, adverbsmug·ness, nounun·smug, adjectiveun·smug·ly, adverbun·smug·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for smug


adjective smugger or smuggest
  1. excessively self-satisfied or complacent
  2. archaic trim or neat
Derived Formssmugly, adverbsmugness, noun

Word Origin for smug

C16: of Germanic origin; compare Low German smuck neat
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 smug

1550s, "trim, neat, spruce, smart," possibly an alteration of Low German smuk "trim, neat," from Middle Low German smücken "to adorn" (originally "to dress," secondary sense of words meaning "to creep or slip into"), from the same source as smock. The meaning "having a self-satisfied air" is from 1701, an extension of the sense of "smooth, sleek" (1580s), which was commonly used of attractive women and girls. Related: Smugly; smugness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper