Definition of smug in English:



  • Having or showing an excessive pride in oneself or one's achievements.

    ‘he was feeling smug after his win’
    • ‘He winked at me and I wanted to knock out a few teeth in that smug smile he flashed at me.’
    • ‘If you are the only one this summer to avoid the hayfever or sunburn, you'll be feeling pretty smug.’
    • ‘The prospect of wiping the smug smirk of Murdoch's mug is a delightful notion.’
    • ‘I have rarely heard such nonsense delivered with such a smug air of authority.’
    • ‘I did a bit of redrafting, then emailed it into the office, feeling smug that I was working from home.’
    • ‘He had that smug, always right, nasal sounding twang, of Ken's down to perfection.’
    • ‘If anyone ever deserved to wear the smug grin of a Cheshire cat with all the cream, it is Julia Drown right now.’
    • ‘It is always wise to guard against adopting a complacent or smug attitude in life as one ages.’
    • ‘Even middle class is these days often used as a venomous synonym for smug, unadventurous or selfish.’
    • ‘Lib Dems are a nice bunch whose only serious vice is being a little smug.’
    • ‘British MPs tend to feel smug that religion plays almost no role in our politics.’
    • ‘He folded his hands behind his back as he walked, a smug smile on his face, surveying the venders.’
    • ‘We sauntered out of the house, feeling fairly smug as we'd got organised quite quickly for a change.’
    • ‘I feel a smug satisfaction in knowing I am taking them away to a better climate.’
    • ‘Tell me you love the pics and I'll be smug about them for a couple of days.’
    • ‘The Minister can sit there with a smug smile and a smug face, and he can shake his head all that he wants to.’
    • ‘Naturally, they reserve the right to be smug and unimpressed, but still they'll come.’
    • ‘Cooking our own meals added to a smug sense of self-sufficiency and general worthiness.’
    • ‘We exchanged those rather smug looks that you do when you've just enjoyed a very special meal.’
    • ‘A smug smile sat on her lips as she sipped on her cranberry juice, knowing exactly what was in store.’
    self-satisfied, complacent, self-congratulatory, superior, puffed up, pleased with oneself, self-approving, well pleased, proud of oneself
    like the cat that's got the cream, i'm-all-right-jack
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century (originally in the sense ‘neat, spruce’): from Low German smuk pretty.