• synonyms


adjective, smug·ger, smug·gest.
  1. contentedly confident of one's ability, superiority, or correctness; complacent.
  2. trim; spruce; smooth; sleek.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for smugly

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "They'll fall faster than any known enemy weapon can track them," he said, smugly.

    Minor Detail

    John Michael Sharkey

  • And how smugly, to be sure, would he talk about his children's tutor!

  • When we read about that, as children, we said smugly: "What a fool Paris was!"


    Albert Payson Terhune

  • "October 1st, 2144, is the patent date," said Joe Silver smugly.

  • "Used to be a barber in civilian life," the boy said smugly.

    Uniform of a Man

    Dave Dryfoos

British Dictionary definitions for smugly


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

Word Origin

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 smugly



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper