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From Middle English smiten, from Old English smītan (to daub, smear, smudge; soil, defile, pollute), from Proto-Germanic *smītaną (to sling; throw), from Proto-Indo-European *smeyd- (to smear, whisk, strike, rub). Cognate with Saterland Frisian smiete (to throw, toss), West Frisian smite (to throw), Low German smieten (to throw, chuck, toss), Dutch smijten (to fling, hurl, throw), Middle Low German besmitten (to soil, sully), German schmeißen (to fling, throw), Danish smide (to throw), Gothic 𐌱𐌹𐍃𐌼𐌴𐌹𐍄𐌰𐌽 (bismeitan, to besmear, anoint).



smite (third-person singular simple present smites, present participle smiting, simple past smote or smited or (obsolete) smit, past participle smitten or smited or (obsolete) smit)

  1. (archaic) To hit, to strike.
    • Bible, Matthew 5:39:
      Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
    • 1906, Stanley J[ohn] Weyman, chapter I, in Chippinge Borough, New York, N.Y.: McClure, Phillips & Co., OCLC 580270828, page 01:
      It was April 22, 1831, and a young man was walking down Whitehall in the direction of Parliament Street. []. He halted opposite the Privy Gardens, and, with his face turned skywards, listened until the sound of the Tower guns smote again on the ear and dispelled his doubts.
    • 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, chapter 4, in The Land That Time Forgot, Chicago, Ill.: A. C. McClurg & Co., published 1924, OCLC 752757786:
      "Right you are!" I cried. "We must believe the other until we prove it false. We can't afford to give up heart now, when we need heart most. The branch was carried down by a river, and we are going to find that river." I smote my open palm with a clenched fist, to emphasize a determination unsupported by hope.
  2. To strike down or kill with godly force.
    • 1611, King James Version, Exodus 3:19–20:
      And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.
    • 1653, Thomas Taylor, “Peters Repentance. Marke 14.27.”, in The Works of that Faithful Servant of Jesus Christ, Dr. Thom. Taylor, Sometimes Minister of the Gospel in Aldermanbury, London. Not Hitherto Published, (though Earnestly Desired by the Very Many Experimental Christians,) because the Iniquity of Those Times could not Bear such Burning and Shining Light, as is here Handed Forth in these Several Treatises Following. [...], London: Printed by T. R. & E. M. for John Bartlet the elder and John Bartlet the younger, and are to be sold at the Golden Cup near Austins gate in the new Building, OCLC 913022095, page 6:
      For it is written, I will ſmite the Shepheard, and the Sheep ſhall be ſcattered. [] Becauſe the Shepheard was to be ſmitten, they as Sheepe muſt be ſcattered. The Scope of which place is, to prove Chriſt the true Paſtor of the Flocke, even by his ſmiting and abaſement; and ſo moſt aptly alledged that the Diſciples might have matter of ſtrength and comfort thence where they ſtumbled and offended themſelves.
  3. To injure with divine power.
    • 1746, Lodowick[e] Muggleton, “CHAP. XXV [of the Book of Revelation].”, in True Interpretation of All the Chief Texts, and Mysterious Sayings and Visions Opened, of the Whole Book of the Revelation of St. John. Whereby is Unfolded, and Plainly Declared, those Wonderful Deep Mysteries and Visions Interpreted, Concerning the True God, and Alpha and Omega. With Variety of other Heavenly Secrets, which Have Never Been Pen'd, Nor Revel'd to Any Man since the Creation of the World to this Day, until Now[1], London: First Printed for the Author, in the Year 1665. And now Re-printed by Subscription, OCLC 642363406:
      VERSE 12. And the fourth angel ſounded, and the third part of the ſun was ſmitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the ſtars, ſo as the third part of them was darkened, and the day ſhone not for a third part of it, and the night likewiſe. [] [T]his Jeſus which ſignifies the ſun, was ſmitten with persecution and ſufferings in the time of his miniſtry, that there could but a third part of his heavenly light ſhine upon the people of the Jews, and happy were thoſe that this light did ſhine upon.
  4. To put to rout in battle; to overthrow by war.
  5. To afflict; to chasten; to punish.
    • William Wake (1657–1737):
      Let us not mistake God's goodness, nor imagine, because he smites us, that we are forsaken by him.
    • 1787 December, Charles Wilkins, “The Heetopades of Veeshnoo-Sarma. Translated from the Sanskreet Language. By Charles Wilkins.”, in The Edinburgh Magazine, or Literary Miscellany, volume VI, number 36, Edinburgh: Printed for J. Sibbald: and sold by J[ohn] Murray, London, OCLC 4205705, page 383:
      A country deprived of the Ganges is ſmitten; a family without learning is ſmitten; a woman without a child is ſmitten; a ſacrifice without the Brahman's rights is ſmitten.
  6. (figuratively, now only in passive) To strike with love or infatuation.
    Bob was smitten with Laura from the first time he saw her.
    I was really smitten by the color combination, and soon repainted the entire house.
    Who’d be smitten over a bird?
    • Alexander Pope (1688–1744)
      the charms that smite the simple heart
    • 2001, René of Anjou, Stephanie Viereck Gibbs and Kathryn Karczewska, editors, The Book of the Love-smitten Heart, New York, N.Y.; London: Routledge, →ISBN, page 159:
      Thus was written beneath the arms of Arthur of Lesser, duke of Brittany [] Love nonetheless made me feel his dart, / For my person was smitten and inflamed / In its soul by she for whom I bore my shield here: []
    • 2014, Colleen Coble; Kristin Billerbeck; Denise Hunter; Diann Hunt, The Smitten Collection: Smitten, Secretly Smitten, and Smitten Book Club, Thomas Nelson Inc., →ISBN:
      Maybe he was smitten with Clare. And maybe the fact that he didn't want to leave meant it was past time he did.



West FrisianEdit


From Old Frisian smīta, from Proto-Germanic *smītaną, from Proto-Indo-European *smeyd-.



  1. to throw
  2. to fling


Strong class 1
infinitive smite
3rd singular past smiet
past participle smiten
infinitive smite
long infinitive smiten
gerund smiten n
indicative present tense past tense
1st singular smyt smiet
2nd singular smytst smietst
3rd singular smyt smiet
plural smite smieten
imperative smyt
participles smitend smiten

Further readingEdit

  • smite (I)”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011