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[smuht] /smʌt/
a particle of soot; sooty matter.
a black or dirty mark; smudge.
indecent language or publications; obscenity.
Plant Pathology.
  1. a disease of plants, especially cereal grasses, characterized by the conversion of affected parts into black, powdery masses of spores, caused by fungi of the order Ustilaginales.
  2. a fungus causing this disease.
verb (used with object), smutted, smutting.
to soil or smudge.
verb (used without object), smutted, smutting.
to become affected with smut, as a plant.
Origin of smut
1580-90; akin to earlier smit (Old English smitte), by association with smudge, smutch
Related forms
antismut, adjective
unsmutted, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for smut
Historical Examples
  • But though he once took a natural smut floating within an inch of my fly, my fly he would not take.

    Old Flies in New Dresses Charles Edward Walker
  • smut and Bran had him by the ears, and a thrust with the knife finished him.

  • You can walk with mamma alone then, Alie, and smut and I will come after you.

    The Rectory Children Mrs Molesworth
  • To the men he was smut, and no one ever thought of calling him anything else.

  • A very respectable old gentleman was smut, with his sleek, glossy coat; but he stood too much on his dignity ever to play.

    Woodside Caroline Hadley
  • The shining surface reflected the smut, and he seemed to himself to be two.

    Miscellanea Juliana Horatia Ewing
  • P'raps I'd better fix to try again after all—what do you think, smut?'

    The Rectory Children Mrs Molesworth
  • smut was very fond of Bridget, who had a very big heart for all dumb animals.

    The Rectory Children Mrs Molesworth
  • They were Bridget and smut, both apparently absorbed in admiring the sunset.

    The Rectory Children Mrs Molesworth
  • smut has had enough of the sunset and standing still; he wants to be off again.

    The Rectory Children Mrs Molesworth
British Dictionary definitions for smut


a small dark smudge or stain, esp one caused by soot
a speck of soot or dirt
something obscene or indecent
  1. any of various fungal diseases of flowering plants, esp cereals, in which black sooty masses of spores cover the affected parts
  2. any parasitic basidiomycetous fungus of the order Ustilaginales that causes such a disease
(angling) a minute midge or other insect relished by trout
verb smuts, smutting, smutted
to mark or become marked or smudged, as with soot
to affect (grain) or (of grain) to be affected with smut
(transitive) to remove smut from (grain)
(transitive) to make obscene
(intransitive) to emit soot or smut
(intransitive) (angling) (of trout) to feed voraciously on smuts
Derived Forms
smutty, adjective
smuttily, adverb
smuttiness, noun
Word Origin
Old English smitte; related to Middle High German smitze; associated with smudge, smutch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for smut

1660s, "black mark, stain," from verb smutten "debase, defile" (late 14c.), later "stain or mark with soot, etc." (1580s), cognate with Middle High German smotzen "make dirty," from West Germanic *smutt- (cf. Middle High German smuz "grease, dirt;" German Schmutz "dirt," schmutzen "to make dirty"). The meaning "indecent or obscene language" is first attested 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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smut in Science
  1. Any of various bacidiomycete fungi that are parasitic on plants and are distinguished by the black, powdery masses of spores that appear as sooty smudges on the affected plant parts. Smuts are parasitic chiefly on cereal grasses like corn and wheat and can cause enormous damage to crops.

  2. Any of the various plant diseases caused by smuts, such as corn smut.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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