One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
adjectiveScottish, Northern English
Contagious or infectious.‘he's got a cough, and they say it's smittle’
- ‘You'll have to take care, for the fever is smittal.’
- ‘Either it's the season of the year or else hiking is proving as smittal as SARS.’
- ‘I've a theory that fear is smittal.’
- ‘The spirit of rivalry is smittle.’
- ‘You're not to be feart of the scabs; the doctor assured us they're not smittal.’
Late 16th century: from the dialect verb smit ‘to infect, affect by contagion’, related to smite.
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