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View synonyms for smut

smut

[ smuht ]

noun

  1. a particle of soot; sooty matter.
  2. a black or dirty mark; smudge.
  3. indecent language or publications; obscenity.
  4. Plant Pathology.
    1. a disease of plants, especially cereal grasses, characterized by the conversion of affected parts into black, powdery masses of spores, caused by fungi of the order Ustilaginales.
    2. a fungus causing this disease.


verb (used with object)

, smut·ted, smut·ting.
  1. to soil or smudge.

verb (used without object)

, smut·ted, smut·ting.
  1. to become affected with smut, as a plant.

smut

/ smʌt /

noun

  1. a small dark smudge or stain, esp one caused by soot
  2. a speck of soot or dirt
  3. something obscene or indecent
    1. any of various fungal diseases of flowering plants, esp cereals, in which black sooty masses of spores cover the affected parts
    2. any parasitic basidiomycetous fungus of the order Ustilaginales that causes such a disease
  4. angling a minute midge or other insect relished by trout


verb

  1. to mark or become marked or smudged, as with soot
  2. to affect (grain) or (of grain) to be affected with smut
  3. tr to remove smut from (grain)
  4. tr to make obscene
  5. intr to emit soot or smut
  6. intr angling (of trout) to feed voraciously on smuts

smut

/ smŭt /

  1. Any of various bacidiomycete fungi that are parasitic on plants and are distinguished by the black, powdery masses of spores that appear as sooty smudges on the affected plant parts. Smuts are parasitic chiefly on cereal grasses like corn and wheat and can cause enormous damage to crops.
  2. Any of the various plant diseases caused by smuts, such as corn smut.


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Derived Forms

  • ˈsmuttiness, noun
  • ˈsmuttily, adverb
  • ˈsmutty, adjective

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Other Words From

  • anti·smut adjective
  • un·smutted adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of smut1

First recorded in 1580–90; akin to earlier smit ( Old English smitte ), by association with smudge, smutch

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Word History and Origins

Origin of smut1

Old English smitte; related to Middle High German smitze; associated with smudge , smutch

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Example Sentences

The people who made those films insisted they were not smut but art.

Smut-nosed Dolph never listened before to such praise as was lavished by the hungry men over the pannikins which he heaped.

We see here the Poet confesses Smut a scandalous Entertainment.

They are fortified in Smut, and almost impregnable in Stench, so that where they deserve most, there's no coming at them.

Wee'l then believe you don't talk Smut, when we percieve you careful not to hear it.

The shining surface reflected the Smut, and he seemed to himself to be two.

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About This Word

What else does smut mean?

Smut is obscene or pornographic material, including pictures and writing.

Where does smut come from?

Smut is first cited for a type of disease which makes fungus appear black. The name is related to smut, a 16th-century verb meaning “smudge” or “blacken” and it gave rise to the noun smut, a “stain” or “soot.”

The word’s underlying notions of decay or darkness doubled as a metaphor for “indecent or obscene” content, especially that type of language in early history. Smut, for this sense, is found in the late 1690s while smutty occurs earlier, in the 1660s.

By the 20th century, smut had especially taken on the sense of sexual obscenity (i.e., pornographic material), in both words and images. James Joyce’s Ulysses was censored in the U.S. in the 1920s as it was considered smutty. Now, it’s considered one of the great works of the English language.

And indeed, it seems smut underwent something of a transformation in the late 20th century as more aesthetic value was seen in smutty content. The British Smut comics series were launched in 1989, filled with adult content. In the 1990s, amateur erotica authors increasingly distinguished between good smut and bad smut in their work. Smut has gone on as a signifier for more pornographic scenes in or works of fanfiction too.

Search interest for smut was at a historic high around 2004–05 after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) were issuing hefty fines on broadcasters for displaying smut, notably prompted by Janet Jackson’s breast exposure at the Super Bowl and U2 Bono’s use of f**k on the Howard Stern Show.

How is smut used in real life?

What’s considered smut is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder, but use of the word smut tends to be more colorful than, say, just calling something obscene, vulgar, profane, or pornographic.

Smut also still characterizes some fungal diseases, such as corn smut.

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

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