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[smok] /smɒk/
a loose, lightweight overgarment worn to protect the clothing while working.
verb (used with object)
to clothe in a smock.
to draw (a fabric) by needlework into a honeycomb pattern with diamond-shaped recesses.
before 1000; Middle English (noun), Old English smocc; orig. name for a garment with a hole for the head; compare Old Norse smjūga to put on (a garment) over the head
Related forms
smocklike, adjective
unsmocked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for smock
  • She leans casually on her spinning frame, staring out at the camera, dressed in a filthy work smock.
  • There she was, undoing her hair to wash it, with her arms out through the sleeve-holes of her smock.
  • He rented a studio, bought a smock-duly initialed-and began something reminiscent of nymphs at play.
  • Put on disposable gloves and a protective smock or coveralls.
  • Participants are encouraged to wear old clothes or a smock.
British Dictionary definitions for smock


any loose protective garment, worn by artists, laboratory technicians, etc
a woman's loose blouse-like garment, reaching to below the waist, worn over slacks, etc
Also called smock frock. a loose protective overgarment decorated with smocking, worn formerly esp by farm workers
(archaic) a woman's loose undergarment, worn from the 16th to the 18th centuries
to ornament (a garment) with smocking
Derived Forms
smocklike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English smocc; related to Old High German smocco, Old Norse smokkr blouse, Middle High German gesmuc decoration
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 smock
O.E. smoc "woman's garment," from P.Gmc. *smukkaz (cf. O.N. smokkr, but this is perhaps from O.E., O.H.G. smoccho "smock," a rare word, N.Fris. smok, but this, too, perhaps from Eng.), from PIE base *smeugh- "to press" (cf. O.C.S. smykati se "to creep"). Original notion seems to be "garment one creeps into," as the word is related to O.N. smjuga "to creep into (a garment)" and O.E. smugan "to creep" and smygel "a burrow." Cf. also Ger. schmiegen "to cling to, to press close, nestle," hence M.H.G. verb smucken, Ger. schmucken "to adorn." Eng. smock was common down to 18c., and was emblematic of womanhood generally, cf. verb smock "to render (a man) effeminate or womanish" (1614); smock-face "person having a pale, effeminate face" (1605). Replaced by euphemistic shift (n.2). Modern meaning "woman's or child's loose dress or blouse" is from 1907; sense of "loose garment worn by artists over other clothes" is from 1938.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for smock


loose, shirtlike garment worn by women in the European Middle Ages under their gowns (also called a chemise). The smock later became a loose, yoked, shirtlike outer garment of coarse linen, used to protect the clothes; it was worn, for example, by fieldworkers in Europe.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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