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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
  • Corn smut, a fungus, has an unexpected benefit: a surprisingly good flavor.
  • Restoring it would require a visit to the police and a written pledge not to text smut again.
  • Information on smut of pearl millet is quite confused in the literature.
  • Several apparently unique species have been reported or implicated in the cause of smut diseases of pearl millet.
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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