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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.
Origin of smock
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for smock
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One of the barin's two companions was a plain peasant, and the other (clad in a blue Siberian smock) a travelling factor.

    Dead Souls Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol
  • There is another ahead of him there, with the head of a scythe inside his smock.

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • It was Kenny in a painter's smock intent upon a palette, vividly, whimsically, delightfully Kenny.

    Kenny Leona Dalrymple
  • He was dressed in a sort of smock that was much torn, and held in his hand a stout staff.

    Childhood Leo Tolstoy
  • Mist, a contraction of commission, signifying a shirt, smock or sheet.

  • There were sack races for the young men and smock races for the young women.

    The Historical Child Oscar Chrisman
  • Geary is said to be a seedling of smock; on the Station grounds it ripens with it.

    The Peaches of New York U. P. Hedrick
  • No man in Oxford market wore a smock that could be compared with his.

    Cripps, the Carrier R. D. (Richard Doddridge) Blackmore
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

Old English smoc "garment worn by women, corresponding to the shirt on men," from Proto-Germanic *smukkaz (cf. Old Norse smokkr "a smock," but this is perhaps from Old English; Old High German smoccho "smock," a rare word; North Frisian smok "woman's shift," but this, too, perhaps from English).

Klein's sources, Barnhart and the OED see this as connected to a group of Germanic sm- words having to do with creeping or pressing close, e.g. Old Norse smjuga "to creep (through an opening), to put on (a garment)," smuga "narrow cleft to creep through; small hole;" Old Swedish smog "a round hole for the head;" Old English smugan, smeogan "to creep," smygel "a burrow." Cf. also German schmiegen "to cling to, press close, nestle;" and Schmuck "jewelry, adornments," from schmucken "to adorn," literally "to dress up."

Watkins, however, traces it to a possible Germanic base *(s)muk- "wetness," figuratively "slipperiness," from PIE root*meug- "slimy, slippery" (see mucus). Either way, the original notion, then, seems generally to have been "garment one creeps or slips into," by the same pattern that produced sleeve and slip (n.2).

Now replaced by euphemistic shift (n.2); smock was the common word down to 18c., and was emblematic of womanhood generally, cf. verb smock "to render (a man) effeminate or womanish" (1610s); smocker "man who consorts with women" (18c.); smock-face "person having a pale, effeminate face" (c.1600). A smock-race (1707) was an old country pastime, a foot-race for women and girls with a smock as a prize. 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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