One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Make (something) dirty; soil.‘the window was smirched by heat and smoke’
make muddy, cake with dirt, cake with mud, dirty, soil, begrime, grime, mire, spatter, bespatterView synonyms
- ‘The Germans set a boxcar on fire, which set off a chain reaction of massive explosions that continued until dawn, which revealed a sky smirched with smoke and ash.’
- ‘With driblets of rust on her hull and at the outset of the anchor cable, she recalled the smirched bathtub of some old hotel.’
- 1.1 Discredit (a person or their reputation); taint.‘I am not accustomed to having my honour smirched’
sully, tarnish, besmirch, blacken, drag through the mire, drag through the mud, stain, taint, damage, defame, discredit, defile, vilify, malign, slander, libel, stigmatize, calumniateView synonyms
- ‘The family of a murdered man know that their honor is smirched.’
- ‘Corrupt business and politics join hands in Iowa: An expose of how the Associated Packing Co. scandal smirched public officials.’
1A dirty mark or stain.
blemish, streak, spot, fleck, dot, blot, stain, smear, trace, speck, speckle, blotch, smudge, smut, smirch, fingermark, fingerprint, impression, imprintView synonyms
- ‘Away from the sights and Bounds of a great city, with no fear of the smirch from its dusty streets and the weariness from contact with its perspiring crowds, beyond reach of the hum of the too familiar and overfond mosquito, the Summer girl has found a convenient bough from which to swing her hammock.’
- ‘Standing before a small mirror on the inside of his door, Marker dipped his comb into a jar of orange blossom water, slicked his lobe-length black hair behind his ears, and wiped a green smirch off the bridge of his nose.’
- 1.1 A blot on someone's character; a flaw.
defect, fault, failing, flaw, imperfection, frailty, fallibility, foible, viceView synonyms
- ‘Therefore, who could be ashamed at the smirch of being a distinct and apparently separated branch of the church, if this struggle of not being what others are is necessary to retain Christ?’
Late 15th century: probably symbolic.
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