Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
late Old English smoca (rare) "fumes and volatile material given off by burning substances," related to smeocan "give off smoke," from Proto-Germanic *smuk- (cf. Middle Dutch smooc, Dutch smook, Middle High German smouch, German Schmauch), from PIE root *smeug- "to smoke; smoke" (cf. Armenian mux "smoke," Greek smykhein "to burn with smoldering flame," Old Irish much, Welsh mwg "smoke").
The more usual noun was Old English smec, which became dialectal smeech. Abusive meaning "black person" attested from 1913, American English. Smoke-eater "firefighter" is c.1930. Figurative phrase go up in smoke "be destroyed" (as if by fire) is from 1933. Smoke alarm first attested 1936; smoke-detector from 1957.
"cigarette," slang, 1882, from smoke (n.1). Also "opium" (1884). Meaning "a spell of smoking tobacco" is recorded from 1835.
Old English smocian "to produce smoke, emit smoke," especially as a result of burning, from smoke (n.1). Meaning "to drive out or away or into the open by means of smoke" is attested from 1590s. Meaning "to apply smoke to, to cure (bacon, fish, etc.) by exposure to smoke" is first attested 1590s. In connection with tobacco, "draw fumes from burning into the mouth," first recorded 1604 in James I's "Counterblast to Tobacco." Related: Smoked; smoking. Smoking gun in figurative sense of "incontestable evidence" is from 1974.
1. To crash or blow up, usually spectacularly. "The new version smoked, just like the last one." Used for both hardware (where it often describes an actual physical event), and software (where it's merely colourful).
2. [Automotive slang] To be conspicuously fast. "That processor really smokes." Compare magic smoke.