Trending: smarmy

                Lookups spiked 5,000% on October 7, 2020

                Why are people looking up smarmy?

                Smarmy smiled unctuously and bribed its way to the top of our lookups on October 7, 2020, helped along by a mention on Twitter by pundit Bill Kristol.

                What does smarmy mean?

                We offer two definitions for smarmy: “revealing or marked by a?smug,?ingratiating, or false earnestness,” and “of low sleazy taste or quality.”

                Smarmy was preceded by the verb smarm, which?appeared in English in the mid-19th century. We don't know where smarm came from, but we do know that it meant "to smear," "to gush," or sometimes "to make smooth or oily." A few decades later, the use of?smarm?was extended to sometimes mean "to use flattery." The adjective?smarmy?appeared in the early 20th century. The adverb form of the word is smarmily, and the noun form, as used by Kristol, is smarminess.


                She’d soon see what it was like, the transformation of smarmy, oily-complimentary Morris into Morris in a rage, breaking the furniture, calling his wife the names of loathsome animals, and finally striking her so that the marks could still be seen upon her cheek.
                Lancaster New Era (Lancaster, PA), 2 Jul. 1923

                Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

                Test Your Vocabulary

                Farm Idioms Quiz

                • cow coming home
                • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
                Spell It

                Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

                TAKE THE QUIZ

                Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

                TAKE THE QUIZ
                Love words? Need even more definitions?

                Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!