Definition of smarmy in US English:



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

    ‘a smarmy, unctuous reply’
    • ‘The way he was paraded round the country as part of the cornet-licking, handholding, smily-wily smarmy double act made me heave.’
    • ‘In those days, he seemed like a smarmy dumb American, but he's grown into the best actor of his generation.’
    • ‘How did a silly article by a smarmy TV presenter whom not very many people take seriously come to dominate the news?’
    • ‘Some people said that he was smarmy but he wasn't at all.’
    • ‘The latter is different: barbed, energetic, smarmy, loud, dirty, assertive, insinuating.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Eating is done in tacky gondolier-a-go-go joints with a floorshow of stunned lobsters and smarmy waiters.’
    • ‘Actually, I suspect Skinner would be more interesting on his own, when not playing half of a smarmy double-act.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Year in year out, hairdresser after hairdresser couldn't resist giving her that daft coiffe, those silly smarmy marmy waves.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Meet Tony, smarmy chick-magnet, Colin the computer nerd and Nodge the pseudo-intellectual.’
    • ‘Marc's smarmy false congratulations are another reminder to Josie of his ability to destroy her bliss.’
    • ‘Don't vote for some smarmy career-men in suits who buckle like paper cups the second the slightest pressure is applied.’
    • ‘Never mind that as he reads from the monitor, Springer radiates smarmy insincerity.’
    • ‘Not nearly smarmy or nasty enough, and the denouement is far too rushed and has no emotional impact whatsoever.’
    • ‘Pretty, sweet, charming and as far from the slick, besuited, smarmy sort of double glazing type sales rep I had expected.’
    • ‘Most of it, however, sounds like last night's carnival, a smarmy brand of entertainment, too self satisfied to show real soul.’
    • ‘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.’
    unctuous, ingratiating, smooth, slick, oily, greasy, fulsome, flattering, obsequious, sycophantic, fawning
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