Here is a knave of a friar calleth me a mad priest, and yet I smite him not.

If he break the law, any citizen not less than thirty years of age may smite him.

The kiss seemed to Israel to smite his own cheeks like a blow.

The strength of the Prophet is within him thus to smite the unbelieving pigs.

Seuthes, turning to the boy, asked, "Shall I smite him instead of you?"

When Lionel saw this, he alighted from his horse to smite off his head.

Frost draws near, intending “to smite her and to freeze her to death.”

I expected Lorand to smite that fair mouth for this despicable calumny.

This action, ku'i, to smite, gave the name to the performance.

Ku'i (ku'i)--to smite; to beat; the name of a hula (p. 250).


"to hit, strike, beat," mid-12c., from Old English smitan, which however is attested only as "to daub, smear on; soil, pollute, blemish, defile" (strong verb, past tense smat, past participle smiten), from Proto-Germanic *smitan (cf. Swedish smita, Danish smide "to smear, fling," Old Frisian smita, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch smiten "to cast, fling," Dutch smijten "to throw," Old High German smizan "to rub, strike," German schmeißen "to cast, fling," Gothic bismeitan "to spread, smear"). "The development of the various senses is not quite clear, but that of throwing is perh. the original one" [OED]. Watkins suggests "the semantic channel may have been slapping mud on walls in wattle and daub construction" and connects it with PIE *sme- "to smear;" Klein's sources also say this.

Sense of "slay in combat" (c.1300) is from Biblical expression smite to death, first attested c.1200. Meaning "visit disastrously" is mid-12c., also Biblical. Meaning "strike with passion or emotion" is from c.1300.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.