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[smuhg] /smʌg/
adjective, smugger, smuggest.
contentedly confident of one's ability, superiority, or correctness; complacent.
trim; spruce; smooth; sleek.
Origin of smug
1545-55; perhaps < Middle Dutch smuc neat, pretty, nice
Related forms
smugly, adverb
smugness, noun
unsmug, adjective
unsmugly, adverb
unsmugness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for smugness
  • They succeeded, becoming prosperous, and piety mingled with smugness made the whole family insufferably sententious.
  • Thank you for presenting the smugness of the deniers as evidence.
  • They've heard it all, and rudeness and smugness will only prolong your wait.
  • Boomers have a smugness that seems to be generation-spanning.
  • The smugness--the serene confidence--of that reply literally beggars belief.
  • Gleefully, they lambasted vegetarians for their now undermined eco-smugness.
  • But smugness can breed complacency, and complacency carelessness.
  • Even regulators are human, so perhaps a little smugness is inevitable-yet such claims are highly debatable.
  • Once the foolhardy are teetering on the precipice, it is too late for smugness.
  • Your smugness and hostility towards your customers are illuminating.
British Dictionary definitions for smugness


adjective smugger, smuggest
excessively self-satisfied or complacent
(archaic) trim or neat
Derived Forms
smugly, adverb
smugness, noun
Word Origin
C16: of Germanic origin; compare Low German smuck neat
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 smugness



1550s, "trim, neat, spruce, smart," possibly an alteration of Low German smuk "trim, neat," from Middle Low German smücken "to adorn" (originally "to dress," secondary sense of words meaning "to creep or slip into"), from the same source as smock. The meaning "having a self-satisfied air" is from 1701, an extension of the sense of "smooth, sleek" (1580s), which was commonly used of attractive women and girls. Related: Smugly; smugness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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