O.E. smitan "to hit, strike, beat" (strong verb, pt. smat, pp. smiten), from P.Gmc. *smitanan (cf. Swed. smita, Dan. smide "to smear, fling," O.Fris. smita, M.L.G., M.Du. smiten "to cast, fling," Du. smijten "to throw," O.H.G. smizan "to rub, strike," Ger. schmeißen "to cast, fling," Goth. bismeitan "to spread, smear"), perhaps from PIE base *(s)mei- "to smear, to rub," but original sense in Gmc. seems to be of throwing. Sense of "slay in combat" (c.1300) is originally Biblical, smite to death, first attested c.1200.