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verb | SMYTE
What It Means
Smite means “to hit someone or something very hard.” Other uses of the word include “to severely injure, kill, or attack someone” (as in “smitten by disease”) and “to captivate or take” (as in “smitten by her beauty”).
// He smote the ball mightily, which helped us win the game.
Examples of SMITE
“Somehow, Kyle Shanahan keeps meeting his accursed fortune with a spirit of inquiry. His record is arguably the most perplexing in the NFL: He is one of its most playful minds and most pained losers. He seems at once young and old, with his boyishly thin neck and easy laugh yet gray bristle and a somewhat scarred look around his eyes, as if he’s waiting for the next hex or treacherous blow of fate to smite him in the face.” — Sally Jenkins, The Washington Post, 10 Dec. 2022
Did You Know?
Today’s word has been part of the English language for a very long time; its earliest uses date to before the 12th century. Smite can be traced back to the Old English smītan, meaning “to smear (a substance) on something” or “to stain or defile.” Smite kept these meanings for a few centuries before they became obsolete and others arose or became more prominent, among them the modern “to strike or attack.” But smite also has a softer side. As of the mid-17th century, it can mean “to captivate or take”—a sense that is frequently used in the past participle in such contexts as “smitten by their beauty” or “smitten with them” (meaning “in love with them”). If such a shift seems surprising, just remember what they say about the moon hitting your eye like a big pizza pie (that’s a smiting).