See also: talk smack and smack talk



  • IPA(key): /smæk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æk

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English smac, smak, smacke, from Old English smæc, smæċċ (taste, smatch), from Proto-Germanic *smakkuz (a taste), from Proto-Indo-European *smegʰ-, *smeg- (to taste). Cognate with English dialectal smatch, Scots smak (scent, smell, taste, flavour), Saterland Frisian Smoak (taste), West Frisian smaak (taste), Dutch smaak (taste), German Schmack, Geschmack (taste), Swedish and Norwegian smak (taste), Norwegian smekke . Akin to Old English smæccan (to taste, smack). More at smake, smatch.


smack (countable and uncountable, plural smacks)

  1. A distinct flavor, especially if slight.
    rice pudding with a smack of cinnamon
  2. A slight trace of something; a smattering.
  3. (slang, uncountable) Heroin.
Derived termsEdit


smack (third-person singular simple present smacks, present participle smacking, simple past and past participle smacked)

  1. (transitive) To get the flavor of.
  2. (intransitive) To indicate or suggest something; used with of.
    Her reckless behavior smacks of pride.
  3. (intransitive) To have a particular taste; used with of.
    • 1820-25, Charles Lamb, Essays of Elia
      He had his tea and hot rolls in a morning, while we were battening upon our quarter-of-a-penny loaf — our crug — moistened with attenuated small beer, in wooden piggings, smacking of the pitched leathern jack it was poured from.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

Smacks in a painting by Carlton Theodore Chapman, ca 1890 (Brooklyn Museum of Art).

From Middle Low German smack (Low German Schmacke, Schmaake (small ship)) or Dutch smak, perhaps ultimately related to smakken, imitative of the sails' noise.


smack (plural smacks)

  1. A small sailing vessel, commonly rigged as a sloop, used chiefly in the coasting and fishing trade and often called a fishing smack
  2. A group of jellyfish.



  • smack” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.

Etymology 3Edit

From Middle Dutch smacken, of imitative origin.

Akin to German schmatzen (eat noisily), Dutch smakken (to fling down), Plautdietsch schmaksen (to smack the lips), regional German schmacken, Schmackes (vigour) (compare Swedish smak (slap), Middle Low German smacken, the first part of Saterland Frisian smakmuulje (smack)).


smack (plural smacks)

  1. A sharp blow; a slap. See also: spank.
  2. The sound of a loud kiss.
  3. A quick, sharp noise, as of the lips when suddenly separated, or of a whip.


smack (third-person singular simple present smacks, present participle smacking, simple past and past participle smacked)

  1. To slap someone.
  2. To make a smacking sound.
    • (Can we date this quote by Benjamin Disraeli and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      A horse neighed, and a whip smacked, there was a whistle, and the sound of a cart wheel.
  3. (New Zealand) To strike a child (usually on the buttocks) as a form of discipline. (US spank)
  4. To wetly separate the lips, making a noise, after tasting something or in expectation of a treat.
    • 1763, Robert Lloyd, “A Familiar Epistle” in St. James Magazine:
      But when, obedient to the mode / Of panegyric, courtly ode / The bard bestrides, his annual hack, / In vain I taste, and sip and smack, / I find no flavour of the Sack.
  5. To kiss with a close compression of the lips, so as to make a sound when they separate.


smack (not comparable)

  1. As if with a smack or slap; smartly; sharply.
    Right smack bang in the middle.
Derived termsEdit

Further readingEdit




smack n

  1. (in the phrase "inte ett smack") smidgeon, piece, small bit

See alsoEdit