9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[smahr-mee] /ˈsmɑr mi/
adjective, smarmier, smarmiest.
excessively or unctuously flattering, ingratiating, servile, etc.:
the emcee with the smarmy welcome.
Origin of smarmy
1905-10; smarm, variant of dial. smalm to smear, make slick (< ?) + -y1
Related forms
smarmily, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for smarmy
  • It is uplifting and sentimental without being moralistic and smarmy.
  • It comes bound in an annoying leather case that smacks of smarmy corporate importance.
  • He calls chroniclers of the decline of higher education witch hunters and smarmy seekers of nostalgia.
  • From a watchful father figure he becomes a smarmy suitor and eventually a wildly jealous and possessive warden.
  • The smarmy premise will, no doubt, turn out to be life-affirming.
  • His smarmy prurience becomes a factor in national policy.
British Dictionary definitions for smarmy


adjective smarmier, smarmiest
(Brit, informal) obsequiously flattering or unpleasantly suave
Derived Forms
smarmily, adverb
smarminess, noun
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 smarmy

"smooth and sleek" (1909); "ingratiating, unctuous," 1924, from smarm + -y (2). Related: Smarmily; smarminess.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for smarmy

small time, the

noun phrase

Mediocre or inferior businesses, enterprises, entertainment or sports circuits, etc; the BUSH LEAGUES: After six years in the small time she finally went to Broadway (1910+ Show business)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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