a. A particle of dirt or soot: "the smoke and flames blowing from the lantern which peppered him with large black smuts" (Joyce Cary).
b. A smudge made by soot, smoke, or dirt.
2. Sexually explicit or prurient language or material, such as books or movies.
3. See smut fungus.
v. smut·ted, smut·ting, smuts
1. To blacken or smudge, as with smoke or grime.
2. To affect (a plant) with smut fungus.
To be or become blackened or smudged.
[From Middle English smotten, smutten, to defile.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.