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From Middle English smoothe, smothe, smethe, from Old English smōþ (smooth, serene, calm, unruffled) and Old English smēþe (smooth, polished, soft, without roughness or inequalities of surface, without discomfort or annoyance, suave, agreeable, avoiding offence, not irritating, not harsh, melodious, harmonious, lenitive), both from Proto-Germanic *smanþaz, *smanþiz (smooth, soft), of unknown origin. Cognate with Scots smuith (smooth), Low German smood and smödig (smooth, malleable, ductile), Dutch smeuïg (smooth) (from earlier smeudig).


  • IPA(key): /smuːð/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːð


smooth (comparative smoother, superlative smoothest)

  1. Having a texture that lacks friction. Not rough.
    • (Can we date this quote by John Dryden and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      The outlines must be smooth, imperceptible to the touch, and even, without eminence or cavities.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter IX, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      “A tight little craft,” was Austin’s invariable comment on the matron; and she looked it, always trim and trig and smooth of surface like a converted yacht cleared for action. ¶ Near her wandered her husband, orientally bland, invariably affable, [].
    • 2005, Lesley Brown, Sophist, translation of original by Plato:
      Teaching that’s done by talking seems to have one rough path and another part which is smoother.
  2. Without difficulty, problems, or unexpected consequences or incidents.
    We hope for a smooth transition to the new system.
    • 2011, Phil McNulty, “Euro 2012: Montenegro 2-2 England”, in BBC[1]:
      England's path to Poland and Ukraine next summer looked to be a smooth one as goals from Ashley Young and Darren Bent gave them a comfortable lead after 31 minutes.
  3. Bland; glib.
  4. Flowing or uttered without check, obstruction, or hesitation; not harsh; fluent.
    • 1670, John Milton, The History of Britain
      the only smooth poet of those times}}
    • 1733-1738, Alexander Pope, Imitations of Horace:
      Waller was smooth; but Dryden taught to join / The varying verse, the full-resounding line.
    • (Can we date this quote by John Gay and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      When sage Minerva rose, / From her sweet lips smooth elocution flows.
  5. (of a person) Suave; sophisticated.
    • 2003, T. Lewis Humphrey, The Price of Love, →ISBN, page 279:
      He was so smooth and handsome. He knew just what to say and when to say it.
  6. (of an action) Natural; unconstrained.
    • 2006, Mary Kay Moskal and Camille Blachowicz, Reading for Fluency, →ISBN, page 3:
      In order for a reading to be smooth and effortless, readers must be able to recognize and read words accurately, automatically, and quickly.
  7. (of a motion) Unbroken.
  8. (chiefly of water) Placid, calm.
  9. (of an edge) Lacking projections or indentations; not serrated.
  10. (of food or drink) Not grainy; having an even texture.
    • 1997, Lou Seibert Pappas, Sorbets and Ice Creams, →ISBN, page 19:
      A compact and stylish design, it produces 1 generous quart of excellent, smooth ice cream in 20 to 25 minutes.
  11. (of a beverage) Having a pleasantly rounded flavor; neither rough nor astringent.
  12. (mathematics, of a function) Having derivatives of all finite orders at all points within the function’s domain.
  13. (mathematics, of a number) That factors completely into small prime numbers.
  14. (linguistics, classical studies, of a vowel) Lacking marked aspiration.
  15. (of muscles, medicine) Involuntary and non-striated.


  • (having a texture lacking friction): even
  • (without difficulty or problems): fluid


Derived termsEdit



smooth (comparative smoother, superlative smoothest)

  1. Smoothly.


smooth (plural smooths)

  1. Something that is smooth, or that goes smoothly and easily.
  2. A smoothing action.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Thackeray to this entry?)
    • 2006, Julienne Van Loon, Road Story[3], →ISBN, page 12:
      She brushes down her hair with a little bit of spit and a smooth of her hand and opens the bright green door, walking a few metres, squinting.
  3. A domestic animal having a smooth coat.
    • 1916, William Ernest Castle and Sewall Wright, Studies of Inheritance in Guinea-pigs and Rats[4], page 104:
      In the 4-toe stock there is a wide gap between the lowest rough and the smooths which come from the same parents.
  4. A member of an anti-hippie fashion movement in 1970s Britain.
    • 1999, Peter Childs and Mike Storry, Encyclopedia of Contemporary British Culture[5], →ISBN, page 188:
      By the early 1970s, skinhead culture began to mutate into the variant ‘white ethnic’ styles of the suedeheads and smooths.
  5. (statistics) The analysis obtained through a smoothing procedure.
    • 1990, Wolfgang Härdle, Applied Nonparametric Regression[6], →ISBN, page 17:
      A smooth of the potato data set has already been given in Figure 1.2.



smooth (third-person singular simple present smooths, present participle smoothing, simple past and past participle smoothed)

  1. (transitive) To make smooth or even.
    • 1961, William Gibson, The Miracle Worker[7], →ISBN, page 37:
      She smooths her skirt, looking as composed and ladylike as possible.
  2. (transitive) To make straightforward or easy.
    • 2007, Beth Kohn, Lonely Planet Venezuela (page 379)
      Caracas can be a tough place but the tremendously good-natured caraqueños smoothed my passage every step of the way.
  3. (transitive) To calm or palliate.
    to smooth a person's temper
  4. (statistics, image processing, digital audio) To capture important patterns in the data, while leaving out noise.
    • 1999, Murray R. Spiegel and Larry J. Stephens, Schaum’s Outline of Theory and Problems of Statistics[8], →ISBN, page 457:
      [] the 7-month moving averages provide better smoothing of the data in this case than do the 3-month moving averages.
  5. (West Country) To stroke; especially to stroke an animal's fur.
    Can I smooth your cat?

Derived termsEdit


See alsoEdit