from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To smear.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To smear over; smear all over; sully.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To smear with any viscous, glutinous matter; to bedaub; to soil.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To smear over or about; bedaub; overspread with any viscous matter, or with any soft substance that adheres; hence, to foul; soil; sully.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. spread or daub (a surface)


Middle English bismeorwen, to make filthy, from Old English besmirwan, to besmear : be-, be- + smierwan, to smear.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English bismerwen, from Old English besmirwan, besmierwan ("to besmear"), equivalent to be- +‎ smear. Cognate with Dutch besmeren ("to besmear"), German beschmieren ("to besmear"). (Wiktionary)


  • Now, my English has gone to hell, but I can't ever remember using the word "besmear" even though I vaguely know what it means.

    Besmear One's Mouth

  • When Serpents sting, the only Remedy is – to kill the Serpent, and besmear the Wound with the Fat.


  • Who could believe that someone so upstanding would stoop to besmear himself in the slush of Teapot Dome?

    The Prize

  • As I was going through my dictionary, I found the word "hlamukela" meaning to besmear one's mouth.

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • Brian and I laughed out loud when we read your story about "besmear."

    Besmear One's Mouth

  • So, I enter the word in the handy-dandy online dictionary and find this: "besmear one's mouth and hands with fat when eating."

    Besmear One's Mouth

  • And, you know what, it does say something about a culture that has a word that means to besmear one's mouth and hands with fat when eating.

    Besmear One's Mouth

  • Shakespeare (in Julius Caesar) eloquently described the bright facade of this fundamentalist, political shadow in his play about another "super power": And let us bathe our hands in ... blood up to the elbows, and besmear our swords.

    Dr. Bush and Mr. Hyde: The Fundamentalist Shadow of George W. Bush

  • They seem to be almost entirely devoid of every feeling but that of gratifying their appetites; and provided the slave is well fed, and receives a regular allowance of butter and meat, and of grease to besmear his body, he cares little for the stripes or curses he receives.

    Travels in Nubia

  • I do not expect anything further in life than a succession of sheets of paper to besmear with black.

    The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters


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