Word of the Day – Smarmy

Word of the Day : December 2, 2021


adjective SMAR-mee

What It Means

Smarmy means “behaving in a way that seems polite, kind, or pleasing but is not genuine or believable.”

// Online reviews of the resort warned of smarmy street vendors when wandering from the tourist areas.

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“Before [Daniel Craig], James Bond was portrayed by Sean Connery as suave and immovable; by George Lazenby as vulnerable and tragic; by Roger Moore as smarmy and loose….” — Aidan Whatman, Whatculture.com, 7 Oct. 2021

Did You Know?

The history of smarmy is oily. Etymologists don’t know where smarm (the verb from which it is based) came from, but they do know that it meant “to smear” or “to make smooth or oily” before gaining the meaning “to flatter.” The adjective smarmy comes from the latter meaning.