v. smeared, smear·ing, smears
a. To spread or daub (a surface, for example) with a sticky, greasy, or dirty substance.
b. To apply by spreading or daubing: smeared suntan lotion on my face and arms.
c. To cause to be blurry or spread in unwanted places: The ink on the poster was smeared.
2. To stain or attempt to destroy the reputation of; vilify: political enemies who smeared his name.
3. Slang To defeat utterly.
To spread easily in an undesired way: This mascara smears when it gets wet.
1. A mark made by smearing; a spot or blot.
2. A substance to be spread on a surface.
3. Biology A sample, as of blood or bacterial cells, spread on a slide for microscopic examination or on the surface of a culture medium.
a. Vilification or slander.
b. A vilifying or slanderous remark.
[Middle English smeren, to anoint, from Old English smerian.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.