Definition of besmirch in English:



  • 1Damage the reputation of (someone or something) in the opinion of others.

    ‘he had besmirched the good name of his family’
    • ‘At no stage did any of these worthies think it necessary to do some fact-checking before besmirching the reputation of a former cabinet officer.’
    • ‘What he is really worried about is how such a move would be received by the general public, but his reputation is now beyond besmirching.’
    • ‘Her name will, quite rightly, be besmirched and sullied until all eternity.’
    • ‘It seems someone is trying to besmirch this council's good name.’
    • ‘The case has shown how easy it is for a hard-working and respected professional to have their name and reputation besmirched by one wild accusation.’
    • ‘I have tried to keep my reputation - to fight for my reputation - while it's been besmirched, and I have tried to do it in a way that brings honor to the House.’
    • ‘In his death, they are surreptitiously besmirching his reputation to gain political protection.’
    • ‘‘They are attempting to besmirch his reputation in advance of the elections,’ she said.’
    • ‘Its members believe that one of the figures central to their faith has been besmirched and defamed.’
    • ‘So in the end all you really are doing is besmirching reputations.’
    • ‘‘If employees aren't treated with common decency and respect in a layoff, the company's reputation is besmirched in many eyes,’ she says.’
    • ‘That would be truly despicable of the Senate to allow his reputation to be permanently besmirched.’
    • ‘How much is your good name worth, and what would you do if you felt the media had besmirched your reputation?’
    • ‘A department spokesman said, ‘We don't want our police officers doing things that could besmirch the reputation of our organization.’’
    • ‘I regard the continued campaign by some in the media to denigrate and besmirch the reputation of the Navy as quite outrageous.’
    • ‘Inevitably, exposure awaits, and often exposure which will damage innocent people who will be besmirched, so audacious is the extent of the crime.’
    • ‘My family's name has been besmirched by your victory over me, but your trickery can't hope to save you now.’
    • ‘Are you saying you have needlessly besmirched the reputation of the Secretary of State?’
    • ‘He died for your freedom, the very freedom you use to besmirch his reputation.’
    • ‘How dare you besmirch my mother's reputation?’
    sully, tarnish, blacken, drag through the mire, drag through the mud, stain, taint, smear, befoul, soil, contaminate, pollute, disgrace, dishonour, bring discredit to, stigmatize, injure, damage, debase, spoil, ruin
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    1. 1.1literary Make (something) dirty or discolored.
      ‘the ground was besmirched with blood’
      • ‘His body was bruised, his hands were bleeding, and his rags were all besmirched with mud.’
      • ‘The body of King Richard III was treated with much indignity. Trussed naked over a horse and besmirched with mud, it was borne in parade to Leicester, a sad spectacle.’
      • ‘The insensitive Jane firmly replied that she had “no use for a husband with a flat head, a half-naked body and copper-colored skin besmirched with whale oil."’
      • ‘The rolling gates that protect the building’s main entrance are rusted and besmirched with grime.’
      • ‘He should be besmirched with smoke, grime, and the most rancid of grease.’
      dirty, filthy, grimy, muddy, mud-caked, grubby, messy, soiled, stained, smeared, smeary, scummy, slimy, sticky, sooty, dusty, unclean, foul, begrimed, bespattered, befouled, polluted, squalid, insanitary
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Early 17th century: from be- + smirch.