• Smoke


    • UK enPR: smōk, IPA: /sməʊk/
    • US enPR: smōk, IPA: /smoʊk/
    • Rhymes: -əʊk

    Alternative forms


    From Middle English smoke, from Old English smoca ("smoke"), probably a derivative of the verb smocian ("to smoke, emit smoke; fumigate"), from Proto-Germanic *smukōną ("to smoke"), ablaut derivative of Proto-Germanic *smeukaną ("to smoke"), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)meug(h)- ("to smoke"). Related to Old English smēocan ("to smoke, emit smoke; fumigate"), West Frisian smoke ("(to) smoke"), Dutch smook ("smoke"), Middle Low German smōk ("smoke"), German dialectal Schmauch ("smoke"), Bavarian schmuckelen ("to smell bad, reek").

    Full definition of smoke



    (countable and uncountable; plural smokes)
    1. (uncountable) The visible vapor/vapour, gases, and fine particles given off by burning or smoldering material.
      • 2013-06-29, Unspontaneous combustion, Since the mid-1980s, when Indonesia first began to clear its bountiful forests on an industrial scale in favour of lucrative palm-oil plantations, “haze” has become an almost annual occurrence in South-East Asia. The cheapest way to clear logged woodland is to burn it, producing an acrid cloud of foul white smoke that, carried by the wind, can cover hundreds, or even thousands, of square miles.
    2. (colloquial, countable) A cigarette.
      Can I bum a smoke off you?;  I need to go buy some smokes.
    3. (colloquial, countable, never plural) An instance of smoking a cigarette, cigar, etc.; the duration of this act.
    4. I'm going out for a smoke.
    5. (uncountable, figuratively) A fleeting illusion; something insubstantial, evanescent, unreal, transitory, or without result.
      The excitement behind the new candidate proved to be smoke.
    6. (uncountable, figuratively) Something used to obscure or conceal; an obscuring condition; see also smoke and mirrors.
      The smoke of controversy.
    7. (uncountable) A light grey colour/color tinted with blue.
    8. (military, uncountable) A particulate of solid or liquid particles dispersed into the air on the battlefield to degrade enemy ground or for aerial observation. Smoke has many uses--screening smoke, signaling smoke, smoke curtain, smoke haze, and smoke deception. Thus it is an artificial aerosol.
    9. (baseball, slang) A fastball.



    1. (transitive) To inhale and exhale the smoke from a burning cigarette, cigar, pipe, etc.
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity Chapter 1, He used to drop into my chambers once in a while to smoke, and was first-rate company. When I gave a dinner there was generally a cover laid for him. I liked the man for his own sake, and even had he promised to turn out a celebrity it would have had no weight with me.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 12, To Edward ... he was terrible, nerve-inflaming, poisonously asphyxiating. He sat rocking himself in the late Mr. Churchill's swing chair, smoking and twaddling.
    2. He's smoking his pipe.
    3. (intransitive) To inhale and exhale tobacco smoke regularly or habitually.
      Do you smoke?
    4. (intransitive) To give off smoke.
      My old truck was still smoking even after the repairs.
      • MiltonHard by a cottage chimney smokes.
    5. To preserve or prepare (food) for consumption by treating with smoke.
      You'll need to smoke the meat for several hours.
    6. (slang) To perform (e.g. music) energetically or skillfully. Almost always in present participle form.
      The horn section was really smokin' on that last tune.
    7. (US, slang) To kill, especially with a gun.
      He got smoked by the mob.
    8. (NZ, slang) To beat someone at something.
      We smoked them at rugby.
    9. (transitive, obsolete) To fill or scent with smoke; hence, to fill with incense; to perfume.
    10. (obsolete, transitive) To smell out; to hunt out; to find out; to detect.
      • ChapmanI alone
        Smoked his true person, talked with him.
      • William ShakespeareHe was first smoked by the old Lord Lafeu.
      • AddisonUpon that ... I began to smoke that they were a parcel of mummers.
    11. (slang, obsolete, transitive) To ridicule to the face; to quiz.
    12. To burn; to be kindled; to rage.
      • Bible, Deuteronomy xxix. 20The anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man.
    13. To raise a dust or smoke by rapid motion.
      • DrydenProud of his steeds, he smokes along the field.
    14. To suffer severely; to be punished.
      • ShakespeareSome of you shall smoke for it in Rome.

    Derived terms

    Terms derived from the verb "smoke"



    1. Of the colour known as smoke.
    2. Made of or with smoke.
      • 2006, Edwin Black, Internal Combustion Chapter 1, If successful, Edison and Ford—in 1914—would move society away from the...hazards of gasoline cars: air and water pollution, noise and noxiousness, constant coughing and the undeniable rise in cancers caused by smoke exhaust particulates.


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