Definition of smear noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//smɪə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//smɪr//
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  1. 1an oily or dirty mark a smear of jam Synonymsmarkstain fingerprint streak speck blot smear spotThese are all words for a small area of dirt or another substance on a surface.mark a small area of dirt or other substance on the surface of something, especially one that spoils its appearance:The kids left dirty marks all over the kitchen floor.stain a dirty mark on something that is difficult to remove, especially one made by a liquid:blood stainsfingerprint a mark on a surface made by the pattern of lines on the end of a person’s finger, often used by the police to identify criminals:Her fingerprints were all over the gun.streak a long thin mark or line that is a different colour from the surface it is on:She had streaks of grey in her hair.speck a very small mark, spot or piece of a substance on something:There isn’t a speck of dust anywhere in the house.blot a spot or dirty mark left on something by a substance such as ink or paint being dropped on a surfacesmear a mark made by something such as oil or paint being spread or rubbed on a surfacespot a small dirty mark on something:There were grease spots all over the walls.Patterns a streak/​speck/​blot/​smear/​spot of something a greasy mark/​stain/​smear an ink mark/​stain/​blot/​spot a grease mark/​stain/​spot to leave a mark/​stain/​fingerprint/​streak/​speck/​blot/​smear
  2. 2a story that is not true about somebody that is intended to damage their reputation, especially in politics He was a victim of a smear campaign.
  3. 3(British English) = smear test
  4. Word OriginOld English smierwan (verb), smeoru ‘ointment, grease’, of Germanic origin; related to German schmieren (verb), Schmer (noun).Extra examples The article cast a smear on the Minister for Health. They have conducted a vicious smear campaign against him. a smear job on President Clinton an abnormal Pap smear test campaign smears against the socialist candidate the far-right smear machine He was a victim of a smear campaign. Here is a spray window cleaner that won’t leave any smears. The Prime Minister has called for an end to smears and personal attacks in the run-up to the election. There was a smear of paint on his cheek.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: smear