Word of the Day – Besmirch

Word of the Day : March 9, 2022


verb bih-SMERCH

What It Means

Besmirch means “to cause harm or damage to the purity, luster, or beauty of something.”

//The allegations have besmirched the politician’s reputation.

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BESMIRCH in Context

“In a must-have game for the season, Texas must have had one blown opportunity after another in a contest besmirched with critical personal foul penalties, poor blocking and Thompson’s first pick six, a play that completely turned the outcome of the game. And perhaps the season.” — Kirk Bohls, The Austin (Texas) American-Statesman, 17 Oct. 2021

Did You Know?

Since the prefix be- in besmirch means “to make or cause to be,” when you besmirch something, you cause it to have a smirch. What’s a smirch? A smirch is a stain, and to smirch something is to stain it or make it dirty. By extension, the verb smirch came to mean “to bring discredit or disgrace on.” Smirch and besmirch, then, mean essentially the same thing.