Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To stain; sully: a reputation that was besmirched by slander.
  • transitive v. To make dirty; soil.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make dirty; to soil.
  • v. To tarnish, especially someone's reputation; to debase.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To smirch or soil; to discolor; to obscure. Hence: To dishonor; to sully.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To soil; discolor, as with soot or mud; hence, to sully; obscure.

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

  • v. smear so as to make dirty or stained
  • v. charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone

Etymologies

From be- +‎ smirch. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A warning from Michael Jackson's attorney to those who want to -- quote -- "besmirch" the king of pop's reputation.

    CNN Transcript Nov 26, 2003

  • The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has disputed Mhlongo's testimony, saying he was being used to "besmirch" the ANC.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • The TRC's findings were also "capricious and arbitrary" and would "besmirch" the legitimate struggle against apartheid ..

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Villa issued a statement on Wednesday accusing Sunderland of trying to "besmirch" the club's name, but the row shows few signs of abating as Bruce attempts to plug a gap made all the more sizeable by the news that loan signing Danny Welbeck has undergone surgery to repair a torn knee cartilage and will be sidelined for up to eight weeks.

    WalesOnline - Home

  • Lashing out at critics trying to "besmirch" Mr. Tharoor by "presenting me as a proxy for him," Ms. Pushkar, whom the Minister was reportedly planning to marry, said it was "insulting for me as a woman and a friend."

    The Hindu - Front Page

  • Lashing out at critics trying to "besmirch" Tharoor by "presenting me as a proxy for him",

    Analysis

  • Phil Spector, signaling a possible shift in tactics by the defense, which had promised not to "besmirch" slain actress Lana Clarkson.

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  • (BTW, Svalgaard delivers a very powerful rebuttal of the PU website so many EU proponents like to cite (it's 22nd June, 17:43:13, or search "besmirch": "The website is basically fraudulent in its claims and reflects the pseudo-science of its promoter.

    Do "Skeleton" Filaments Give Structure to the Universe? | Universe Today

  • Any allusions to ties with Jack Abramoff are completely unfounded and are clearly partisan attacks meant to besmirch his stellar reputation.

    Updated: McDonnell remakes Virginia Board of Elections

  • I do not wish to entirely besmirch Mr. West's time in the sun, as he's attempting something other musicians have failed to do well; in fact, I wish a mentor and Creative Director would step in to push him further along.

    Marjon Rebecca Carlos: Pret-a-Parler: Kanye's Debut Conversation With Style

Comments

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  • ...with chocolate and phlegm
    besmirching their jowls in equal amounts.

    - Peter Reading, Ménage à Trois, from The Prison Cell & Barrel Mystery, 1976

    June 23, 2008