Definition of smarmy in US English:


adjectivesmarmiest, smarmier

  • Ingratiating and wheedling in a way that is perceived as insincere or excessive.

    ‘a smarmy, unctuous reply’
    • ‘In those days, he seemed like a smarmy dumb American, but he's grown into the best actor of his generation.’
    • ‘Don't vote for some smarmy career-men in suits who buckle like paper cups the second the slightest pressure is applied.’
    • ‘Actually, I suspect Skinner would be more interesting on his own, when not playing half of a smarmy double-act.’
    • ‘Pretty, sweet, charming and as far from the slick, besuited, smarmy sort of double glazing type sales rep I had expected.’
    • ‘Marc's smarmy false congratulations are another reminder to Josie of his ability to destroy her bliss.’
    • ‘He has almost no chance of winning my vote, out of principle more than anything else, however he's a good political performer, if a little smarmy.’
    • ‘The way he was paraded round the country as part of the cornet-licking, handholding, smily-wily smarmy double act made me heave.’
    • ‘Never mind that as he reads from the monitor, Springer radiates smarmy insincerity.’
    • ‘Watch out for that extraordinary middle section, as Julie takes over the operatic role - and watch also for a rather smarmy peck on the shoulder at the end.’
    • ‘Some people might find it a little smarmy but it's very funny about publishing, agents and publicists.’
    • ‘We were led upstairs, extremely exhausted, to the smarmy commissar's luxurious office with bedroom and en-suite bathroom.’
    • ‘The latter is different: barbed, energetic, smarmy, loud, dirty, assertive, insinuating.’
    • ‘How did a silly article by a smarmy TV presenter whom not very many people take seriously come to dominate the news?’
    • ‘And yeah the characters can be annoying sometimes, but they're not nearly as smarmy as most other sitcoms, so it's ahead by default.’
    • ‘Eating is done in tacky gondolier-a-go-go joints with a floorshow of stunned lobsters and smarmy waiters.’
    • ‘Some people said that he was smarmy but he wasn't at all.’
    • ‘Meet Tony, smarmy chick-magnet, Colin the computer nerd and Nodge the pseudo-intellectual.’
    • ‘Not nearly smarmy or nasty enough, and the denouement is far too rushed and has no emotional impact whatsoever.’
    • ‘Most of it, however, sounds like last night's carnival, a smarmy brand of entertainment, too self satisfied to show real soul.’
    • ‘Year in year out, hairdresser after hairdresser couldn't resist giving her that daft coiffe, those silly smarmy marmy waves.’
    unctuous, ingratiating, smooth, slick, oily, greasy, fulsome, flattering, obsequious, sycophantic, fawning
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