[Dutch smœts; English smuhts]


Jan Chris·ti·aan [Dutch yahn kris-tee-ahn] /Dutch yɑn ˈkrɪs tiˌɑn/, 1870–1950, South African statesman and general: prime minister 1919–24, 1939–48.




a particle of soot; sooty matter.
a black or dirty mark; smudge.
indecent language or publications; obscenity.
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.

to soil or smudge.

verb (used without object), smut·ted, smut·ting.

to become affected with smut, as a plant.

Origin of smut

1580–90; akin to earlier smit (Old English smitte), by association with smudge, smutch
Related formsan·ti·smut, adjectiveun·smut·ted, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for smuts

Historical Examples of smuts

British Dictionary definitions for smuts



Jan Christiaan (jan ˈkristiˌan). 1870–1950, South African statesman; prime minister (1919–24; 1939–48). He fought for the Boers during the Boer War, then worked for Anglo-Boer reconciliation and served the Allies during World Wars I and II



a small dark smudge or stain, esp one caused by soot
a speck of soot or dirt
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
angling a minute midge or other insect relished by trout

verb smuts, smutting or smutted

to mark or become marked or smudged, as with soot
to affect (grain) or (of grain) to be affected with smut
(tr) to remove smut from (grain)
(tr) to make obscene
(intr) to emit soot or smut
(intr) angling (of trout) to feed voraciously on smuts
Derived Formssmutty, adjectivesmuttily, adverbsmuttiness, noun

Word Origin for smut

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



1660s, "black mark, stain," from verb smutten "debase, defile" (late 14c.), later "stain or mark with soot, etc." (1580s), cognate with Middle High German smotzen "make dirty," from West Germanic *smutt- (cf. Middle High German smuz "grease, dirt;" German Schmutz "dirt," schmutzen "to make dirty"). The meaning "indecent or obscene language" is first attested 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

smuts in Science



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.
Any of the various plant diseases caused by smuts, such as corn smut.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.