From the second edition (1989):
smite, v.
(smaɪt) Forms: (see below). [OE. smítan (smát, smiton, smiten), = OFris. smîta (WFris. smite, EFris. smite, smīt, NFris. smit) to throw, MDu. smiten (Du. smijten) to throw, strike, MLG. and LG. smîten to throw, OHG. smîzan to smear (also bismîzan to smear, sully, ûzsmîzan to cast out; MHG. smîzen, G. schmeissen to throw, strike, smear, excrete), Goth. bi-, gasmeitan to smear. In the Scand. languages represented by MSw. and Sw. smita (smeta), Norw. smita, Da. smide, which are prob. from MLG. The development of the various senses is not quite clear, but that of throwing is perh. the original one.
The compound besmítan is common in OE., and forsmite occurs in ME.]


A. Illustration of Forms.


1. a. inf. (and pres. stem) 1 -smítan, 3 smiten (-enn), 3–4 smyten, 5 smytyn; 3– smite (4 north. smete), 4–6 smyte (5 smyit), 5–6 Sc. smyt, 5, 7 smytt, 5 smyght, 6–7 smight; 4 smit, north. smett, smitt(e.

c1000 Saxon Leechd. III. 14 Smite mon ða sealfe‥on þæt heafod. c1160 Hatton Gosp. Matt. v. 39 if hwa þe smite on þin swiðre wænge. c1200 Ormin 14677 To smitenn itt to dæde. c1200 Trin. Coll. Hom. 61 He wile smite mid‥swuerde. c1250 Owl & Night. 78 Al þat þu myht‥smyten. a1300 Cursor M. 5656 He sagh an egypcien‥Smit a juu. Ibid. 15798, I wil noght þat þou smete. 1382 Wyclif Gen. viii. 21, I shal smyte no more. c1440 Promp. Parv. 461/1 Smytyn, ferio, percutio. Ibid., Smyte fyyr, fugillo. c1450 MS. Douce 55 fol. 3, Smytt it in feyre pecys. 1535 Coverdale 1 Kings xx. 35, I praye the smite me. 1539 Bible (Cranmer) John xviii. 23 Why smyttest thou me? 1570 Levins Manip. 151 To smyte, percutere, ferire. 1596 Spenser F.Q. iv. iv. 21 For him likewise he quickly downe did smight. c1635 Sir W. Mure Ps. cxli. 5 Wks. (S.T.S.) II. 218 Me let the righteouse smytt. 1641 Hinde J. Bruen 18 Smighting their consciences. 1663 S. Patrick Parab. Pilgrim xxxi. (1687) 379 To have a Dead Palsie smite your loyns.


b. 3rd pers. sing. 2–4 smit, 4–5 smyt, 5 smytt(e.

a1200 Vices & Virt. 13 Se ðe smit under ða eare. c1340 Nominale (Skeat) 188 Man with hamur smyt on the anfelde. 1390 Gower Conf. I. 40 Whan‥the spore The horse side smit to sore, It grieveth ofte. c1400 Mandeville (1839) v. 45 This Ryvere comethe rennynge‥; and aftre it smytt unto Londe.


2. pa. tense. a. sing. (latterly also pl.) α1-2 smát, 3–6 smat (3 smæt), 4–6 smate. (After 1300 north. and Sc.)

c725 Corpus Gloss. I. 352 Inpingit, smat, emaercode. c1160 Hatton Gosp. Matt. xxvi. 68 Hwæt ys se þe þe smat. c1205 Lay. 20317 Me hine smæt mid smærte ȝerden. a1300 Cursor M. 20957 A jugelur wit blindnes he smat [v.r. smate]. c1440 Alph. Tales 516 With his spere he smate hym thrugh. 1513 Douglas Æneid ix. xii, Quhou Turnus the big Pandarus smat [v.r. smate] down.


(β) 3–7 smot, 4 smoth, 5 smotte, 6 smott; 4– smote (also 4–5 pl. smoten), 4–5 smoot, smoote (also 5 pl. smooten), 5 smoitte, 6 Sc. smoit, 7 smoat(e.

c1250 Gen. & Ex. 2925 Oc Moyses wirm hem alle smot. a1300 Havelok 2654 Ubbe‥smoth Godrich. a1325 Prose Ps. lxviii. 31 Hym þat tou smote. c1340 Ayenb. 48 Þeruore smot god‥onam. c1380 Wyclif Sel. Wks. II. 415 Petir‥smoot of Malcus eere. c1400 Sowdone Bab. 1796 Thay‥smoten down right al a-boute. c1450 Merlin xv. 237 Anoon thei smote to-geder fercely. 1490 Caxton Eneydos lvi. 152 She smotte grete strokes. 1535 Coverdale 1 Sam. xxiv. 5 It smote him‥in his hert. 1590 Spenser F.Q. iii. i. 28 She‥downe him smot. 1604 Shakes. Oth. v. ii. 356, I‥smoate him, thus. 1642 D. Rogers Naaman 30 The Lord smot him with the plague. 1714 Young Force Relig. Wks. 1752 I. 87 She smote her lovely breast.


(γ) 2nd pers. 1–3 smite, 3–4 smete. 3rd pers. 4 smite, 5 smete.

c1150 Canterbury Ps. iii. 8 Þu ofsloe vel smite. c1205 Lay. 8157 Þu me smite [c1275 smete]. a1325 Prose Ps. iii. 7 Þou smete alle þat were oȝains me. 13‥ Guy Warw. (A.) 942 Gij oȝain to him smite [rime hete]. 14‥ Ibid. (C.) 1196 He‥smete in a grete swowne.


(δ) 3–5 smette, 5 smet; 3 smatte, 4 smat.
These would normally represent an OE. *smǽtte, pa. tense of *smǽtan, corresponding to MHG. smeizen.

c1250 Gen. & Ex. 2684 He bi-loc hem & smette a-mong. a1300 K. Horn 607 Þe sarazins he smatte Þat his blod hatte. c1330 R. Brunne Chron. Wace (Rolls) 8540 Hengist ageyn anoþer smat [rime sat]. Ibid. 16371 Þey smette to-gedere so bitterlyke. 1412–20 Lydg. Chron. Troy i. 4187 Lamedoun‥smet A riche cercle from his basenet. 1470 Maldon Court Rolls (Bundle 47, No. 4), Turned that other ende of the forke and smette hym.


(ε) 6 smytt, smitt, 6–7 smit.

1561 Machyn Diary (Camden) 259 [It] smytt downe serten grett stones. 1590 Spenser F.Q. i. ii. 18 Vpon his crest With rigour‥he smitt. 1614 Gorges Lucan iii. 115 The rowers one another smit. 1684 Bunyan Pilgr. ii. 110 Great-heart‥smit the head‥ from his shoulders.


b. pl. α1 smiton, 3–5 smiten, smyten, 4 smyton, 5 -yn; 3–4 smite, 4–5 smyte; 3–4 smitte(n, 4 smytte(n.

c725 Corpus Gloss. F387 Funestauere, smiton. c1205 Lay. 5183 Heo smiten to-gædere. Ibid. 30097 Mid longe sweorden heo smitten. c1275 Passion our Lord 388 in O.E. Misc. 48 Hi‥smyten [him] vnder þat ere. 1382 Wyclif Gen. xiv. 5 The kingis‥smytyn Raphaym. 1481 Caxton Reynard xxxii. (Arb.) 86 His seruauntis‥smyten and bete the asse.


(β) 3–5 smete, 4–5 smeten, 5 smetin, -on.

c1275 Lay. 5183 Hii smete to-gaderes. 13‥ Coer de L. 3988 They schotte to hem, and hard smeten. 14‥ Guy Warw. (C.) 2897 On þer helmes þey smete. 1481 Caxton Reynard xii. (Arb.) 27 They smeton, beten, and wounded hym.


c. weak forms. 5 smit-, smytide, 9 smited.

1388 Wyclif 2 Kings ix. 27 Thei smytiden hym. 1858 Kingsley The Red King 54 Tyrrel he smited‥that day.


3. pa. pple. α4 y-, 5 i-smyten; 4–6 smyten (4–5 -yn, 5 -on, -un); 3–5 smiten (4 -in, -on).

c1250 Gen. & Ex. 3690 Ðor wurð ȝhe‥wið lepre smiten. a1340 Hampole Psalter iii. 7 Þou has smyten all contrariand til me. c1380 Wyclif Wks. (1880) 378 Ysmyten wiþ goddis vengance. 1382 —— Gen. xli. 6 Smytun with meldew. 1390 Gower Conf. III. 249 He‥The Princes hefdes‥Hath smiten of. c1450 Merlin xv. 239 Than were the saisnes‥harde I-smyten. 1483 Caxton G. de la Tour avj, A crysten man had his hede smyten of.


(β) 3 hii-, 3–4 y-, 3–5 i-smite; 4 i-, 4–5 y-smyte; 4 (6 arch.) smite; 4–5 (6 arch.) smyte.

c1275 Lay. 10855 Hii-smite he was in fihte. 1297 R. Glouc. (Rolls) 6186 Þer were duntes ariȝt ismite. c1330 Arth. & Merl. 8047 (Kölbing), Mani paien to deþ [were] ysmite. c1369 Chaucer Dethe Blaunche 1323 As hyt hadde smyte oures twelve. 1387 Trevisa Higden (Rolls) IV. 123 He was i-smyte wiþ a palsy. 14‥ 26 Pol. Poems xxvi. 117 Nowe hathe age y-smyte me. c1450 Contin. Brut 366 Þat boþe her hedis schulde be smyte of. 1513 Douglas Æneid ii. vii. 17 Sum Greikis victouris war smyte [v.r. smite] deid.


(γ) 4–5 i-smeten; 4–5 smeten, -yn, 5 -on.

1387 Trevisa Higden (Rolls) VII. 477 He was i-smeten wiþ þe vice of pride. 1389 in Eng. Gilds (1870) 91 After prime be smeten. 14‥ 26 Pol. Poems xxvi. 173 Now hathe age smetyn‥My thryd feder. 1485 Caxton Chas. Gt. 44 Roulland‥had smeton hys vncle.


(δ) 4 i-, 5 y-smete; 4–5 smete, 5 smet.

1303 R. Brunne Handl. Synne 11920 A lymme‥smete yn pallesye. 13‥ Coer de L. 4956 How the batayle was i-smete. 1387 Trevisa Higden (Rolls) VI. 369 Þe enemyes‥were i-smete wiþ blyndenesse. 14‥ in Babees Bk. 35 With thys bytel be he smete. c1440 Promp. Parv. 460/2 Smet, or smytyn, percussus.


(ε) 4, 6– smitten, 5–6 smytten (5 -yn, 6 -yne, smyttin).

a1400 Cursor M. 7603 Saul has smitten a thusand. a1483 in Househ. Ord. (1790) 59 That the messes be smyttyn [etc.]. 1489 Caxton Faytes of A. iv. iv. 238 To make theyre hedes to be smytten of. 1551 Bible Isaiah l. 2 Was my hande cleane smitten of? 1556 Chron. Grey Friars (Camden) 65 Hys hond was smyttyne of. 1631 Gouge God's Arrows iii. §84. 340 By Saul they were‥smitten.


(ζ) 5–6 smytte, 5 i-smyt, 5–6 smyt(t; 4, 6– smit.

a1400 Minor Poems fr. Vernon MS. xliii. 144 Al for my misdede Was he so felli smit! 1423 Jas. I. Kingis Q. lviii, Artow seke, or smyt with Ielousye? c1425 R. Gloucester's Chron. 5254 (Digby MS.), Heueden þet were of smytte. a1536 Songs, Carols, etc. (E.E.T.S.) 123, I hope this gonne was well smytt. 1667 Milton P.L. iii. 29 Smit with the love of sacred song.


(η) 6–7 smot, 6–9 smote; 7 smotten.

1590 Spenser F.Q. iii. ii. 46 Till thou in open field adowne be smot. 1597 Beard Theatre God's Judgm. (1612) 309 To be smote with the edge of the sword. 1607 Hieron Wks. I. 473 Elah, smotten and killed while he was drinking. 1768–74 Tucker Lt. Nat. (1834) II. 523 Turning the right cheek to him that has smote the left. 1813 T. Busby Lucretius II. vi. 676 What cities have they smote!


B. Signification. I. trans.


1. To pollute, blemish. Obs.—1

c725 Corpus Gloss. F387 Funestauere, smiton.


2. To smear (a substance) on something. Obs.

c1000 Ælfric Exod. xii. 7 Nymon of his blode and smiton on æðer edyre.


II. 3. a. To administer a blow to (a person, etc.) with the hand, a stick, or the like; to strike or hit; to beat or buffet; to slap or smack. Now rhet. and rare.

c1160 Hatton Gosp. Matt. v. 39 yf hwa þe smite on þin swiðre wænge. a1300 K. Horn 503 He smot him a litel wiȝt & bed him beon a god kniȝt. 1382 Wyclif Matt. xxvi. 67 Thanne thei spitten in to his face, and smyten hym with buffetis. c1440 Gesta Rom. i. 3 He makith sorowe nowe‥For he smot not þe ymage [with the arrow]. 1500–20 Dunbar Poems lxxii. 29 Dispituouslie syne [they] did him smyt. a1608 Dee Relat. Spirits (1659) i. 82 He smit the round Table with his rod. 1675 J. Owen Indwelling Sin xii. (1732) 147 The Case was the same with Asa in his Anger, when he smote the Prophet. 1718 Free-thinker No. 109 The Fairy‥smote him on the Shoulder with a Golden Wand. 1791 Cowper Iliad ix. 708 Oft would she smite the earth. 1841 Dickens Barn. Rudge viii, Half pausing for an instant now and then to smite his pocket. Ibid. xxxix, He smote Mr. Tappertit on the back.
fig. a1225 Ancr. R. 324 Smit him anonriht mid te ȝerde of tunge schrifte. 1390 Gower Conf. I. 310 To smyte hem with the same rodd With which I am of love smite. 1611 Bible Jer. xviii. 18 Come and let vs smite him with the tongue. [Also in earlier versions.] 1785 Grose Dict. Vulgar T., To smite one's tutor, to get money from him.


b. To strike with the foot (†or spur). Also said of the foot. Now rhet. or poet.

13‥ Guy Warw. (A.) 4059 Mani he smot of fot & fest. 13‥ Sir Beues (A.) 3398 Sire Morice of Mounclere His stede smot [v.r. prekyd] aȝenes Sabere. 1821 J. Baillie Metr. Leg., Wallace xxxvii, And proudly smote the ground with firmer tread. 1829 Carlyle Misc. (1857) II. 110 Happy that the virago's foot did not even smite him. 1842 Tennyson Morte d'Arthur 190 Juts of slippery crag that rang Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels.


c. To strike or touch (a harp, etc.) so as to produce musical sounds. Now poet.

c1384 Chaucer H. Fame ii. 777 Eke whan men harpe strynges smyte,‥Loo with the stroke the ayre to-breketh. 1486 Bk. St. Albans djb, Then smyte youre tabur, and cry huff, huff, huff and make the fowle to spryng. 1784 Cowper Task v. 682 Ah, tinkling cymbal,‥Smitten in vain! such music cannot charm [etc.]. 1842 Tennyson Locksley Hall 34 Love took up the harp of Life, and‥Smote the chord of Self. 1847 —— Princ. iv. 38 A maid, Of those beside her, smote her harp, and sang.


d. Naut. (See quot.) Obs.—0

a1625 Nomenclator Navalis (Harl. MS. 2301) s.v. Smitting, This Line is called a Smitting Line. Soe they smite the missen, that is pull the Roape that the Saile maie come downe. [Hence in Harris and later Dicts.]


e. Cricket. To hit with great force; to defeat by hard hitting.

1891 W. G. Grace Cricket iv. 127 Mr. I. D. Walker‥smote them to the tune of 90. 1904 F. C. Holland Cricket 28 After you have smitten him [sc. the bowler of yorkers] full-pitch two or three times, he will soon stop bothering you in this way. 1982 P. Tinniswood More Tales from Long Room vii. 87 My next sermon will take as its text: ‘And, lo, Harry Halliday was a plump man, yet many a six did he smite for Yorkshire.’


4. Of the Deity, in or after Biblical use: To visit with death, destruction, or overthrow; to afflict or punish in some signal manner. (Cf. 8b.)

c1150 Canterbury Ps. iii. 8 Forðæn þu ofsloe vel smite ealle wiðeriende me. a1300 E.E. Psalter civ. 34 He smate al firstkinned in land of þa. 1390 Gower Conf. I. 189 The hond of hevene him smot In tokne of that he was forswore. c1440 Jacob's Well 126 Þe more þat god smyteth hem wyth his wreche. 1535 Coverdale 1 Sam. xxv. 38 The Lorde smote him, so yt he dyed. 1611 Bible Ps. lxix. 26 Let none dwell in their tents. For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten. a1737 Abp. Wake (J.), Let us not mistake God's goodness, nor imagine, because he smites us, that we are forsaken by him. 1784 Cowper Task vi. 464 The Governor of all‥has interpos'd, Not seldom, his avenging arm, to smite Th' injurious trampler upon nature's law. 1843 Whittier C. Southwick 142 The Lord shall smite the proud, and lay His hand upon the strong.


5. a. To strike with a weapon, etc., so as to inflict serious injury or death; also, to strike hard with a cutting tool. Now rhet. or poet.
Freq. const. through, upon, etc. (a certain part). to smite‥hip and thigh: see hip n.1 2d.

c1205 Lay. 6503 Þe king droh his sweord,‥and þet deor he smat a-nan uppe þat hæued-bæn. 1297 R. Glouc. (Rolls) 4473 Lucye þe senatour was mid a spere þoru ysmite. a1300 Cursor M. 6671 Qua smites man in wil to sla, He sal him-self be slan alsua. 1375 Barbour Bruce vi. 136 He smat the first sa rygorusly Vith his spere,‥Till he doun to the erd hym bare. c1400 Mandeville (Roxb.) xi. 43 In þat place sawe Dauid þe aungell smytand þe folk with a swerde. c1450 Contin. Brut 423 There this persone smote this ffrere Randulf, and sloue hym. 1513 Douglas Æneid vi. iii. 46 Smyte with the ax did rair the aikis hie. 1596 Spenser F.Q. iv. ix. 29 Ne yeelded foote,‥But being doubly smitten likewise doubly smit. 1641 G. Sandys Paraphr. Song of Solom. v. ii, The Watch‥In this pursuit the Afflicted found: Smot, wounded [etc.]. 1676 Hobbes Iliad iv. 427 He smote was with a Spear into the Brain. 1842 Tennyson Morte d'Arthur 25, I am so deeply smitten thro' the helm That without help I cannot last till morn. 1844 Mrs. Browning Drama of Exile 64 This the sword‥That smote upon the forehead, Lucifer The angel.
refl. c1385 Chaucer L.G.W. 915 Thisbe, To the herte sche hire self smot. 1514 in Ellis Orig. Lett. Ser. i. I. 103 The said Ranalde, with a small knyff that he had secrett, smott hym self.
fig. c1386 Chaucer Clerk's T. 66 Deeth menaceth euery age and smyt. 1590 Spenser F.Q. iii. ii. 35 That blinded God, which hath ye blindly smit, Another arrow hath. 1813 T. Busby Lucret. I. iii. 1250 Great Homer lives no more, Smote, like the rest, by Time's relentless power. 1847 Tennyson Princ. iii. 176 From my breast the involuntary sigh Brake, as she smote me with the light of eyes.


b. With compl. to death (cf. death n. 12) or dead. Also in fig. context.

c1200 Ormin 14677 Abraham‥hoff þe swerd‥To smitenn itt [sc. Isaac] to dæde. c1330 Arth. & Merl. 8047 (Kölbing), Mani paien to deþ [were] ysmite Wiþ swerdes of stiel. 1377 Langl. P. Pl. B. iii. 322 What smyth þat ony [weapon] smytheth be smyte þerwith to dethe. 1513 Douglas Æneid v. ix. 91 In the skyis [he] smate hir deid. 1819 Shelley Lines Castlereagh Admin. ii, The abortion with which she travaileth Is Liberty, smitten to death. 1871 R. Ellis Catullus lxviii. 113 When those monster birds‥his arrow Smote to the death.


c. In or after Biblical use: To strike, or strike down, in battle; to kill, slay.

a1300 Cursor M. 3971 Þat quils esau smat an o þe tua Þe toþer party suld scape him fra. 1382 Wyclif Josh. vii. 5 The whiche‥ben smyten of the men of the cytee of Hay. 1560 Bible (Geneva) Josh. x. 19 Followe after your enemies, and smite all the hindemost. 1597 Beard Theatre God's Judgem. (1612) 309 He caused‥the Citie of the Priests to be smote with the edge of the sword. 1631 Gouge God's Arrows iii. §84. 340 By Saul they were once, and again smitten: and finally by David they were utterly vanquished. 1754 Young Centaur ii. Wks. 1757 IV. 136 Not Babylon alone has been smitten at a banquet, and perished in its joys.


6. Of birds or animals: To strike with beak, claw, horn, hoof, etc. Obs.

c1205 Lay. 20172 Hauekes hine [the crane] smiteð. c1250 Owl & Night. 78 Al þat þu myht myd clyure smyten. c1374 Chaucer Boeth. iii. met. vii. (1868) 80 Þe bee‥styngeþ þe hertes of hem þat ben ysmyte. 1382 Wyclif Exod. xxi. 28 If an oxe with the horn smyte a man. 14‥ Lat. & Eng. Prov. (MS. Douce 52) fol. 16 While þe hors kykys war that he the ne smyte.


7. a. Of hail, lightning, flame, etc.: To strike and injure; to destroy, blast.

1382 Wyclif Exod. ix. 25 The hawle smoot‥alle that weren in feeldes,‥and al erbe of the feelde smoote the hawle. 1387 Trevisa Higden (Rolls) III. 63 Romulus was i-smyte wiþ liȝtnynge. c1400 Rom. Rose 3755 Whan the flawme of the verry brond‥Had Bialacoil with hete smete. 1480 Robt. Devyll 343 in Hazl. E.P.P. I. 233 A man had ben as good as haue be smytten with thonder, As to haue a stroke of hys hand. 1535 Coverdale Exod. ix. 31 Thus the flax and the barlye were smytten. c1630 Milton Arcades 52, I‥heal‥what the cross dire-looking Planet smites. 1760 Sterne Serm. III. 136 The hopeful youth‥; some cruel distemper lays him prostrate upon the earth, smit and shrivelled up with a malignant blast. 1813 T. Busby Lucret. II. vi. 676 Eruptive winds, what cities have they smote! 1820 Shelley Vis. Sea 61 Six the thunder has smitten, And they lie black as mummies.


b. To beat or dash against (something).

c1440 Jacob's Well 248 Þe more grauel & sonde is smet & betyn wyth flodys of þe se, þe more salt & bytter it is. 1624 Quarles Job Militant iii. 43 Which [wind] with a full-mouth Blast Hath smote the House. 1805 Wordsw. Prelude i. 440 With the din Smitten, the precipices rang aloud. 1839 Longfellow Hyperion ii. 6 The storm-wind smites the wall of the mountain cliff.


c. Of sunlight, etc.: To beat or shine strongly upon. Also in fig. context.

1588 Shakes. L.L.L. iv. iii. 28 As thy eye beames, when their fresh rayse haue smot The night of the dew [etc.]. 1667 Milton P.L. iv. 244 Where the morning Sun first warmly smote The open field. 1788 A. Seward Lett. (1811) II. 107 On an open plain smote by the summer's sun. 1832 Tennyson Œnone 54 Far up the solitary morning smote The streaks of virgin snow. 1884 W. C. Smith Kildrostan 43 A broad beam of the garish light Smote with a glory her golden hair.


8. a. Of diseases, distempers, etc.: To attack, affect suddenly or grievously. Freq. in pa. pple., and const. by or with (a malady, etc.).

c1250 Gen. & Ex. 3690 Ðor wurð ȝhe ðanne wið lepre smiten. 1303 R. Brunne Handl. Synne 11920 A lymme þat ys‥smete yn pallesye. 1387 Trevisa Higden (Rolls) V. 123 Constantyn was i-smyte wiþ a strong meselrie. c1425 Cursor M. 11817 (Trin.), Þe palesy smoot his oon side. 1663 S. Patrick Parab. Pilgr. xxxi. (1687) 379 You may as well desire‥to have a Dead Palsie smite your loyns. 1868 Freeman Norm. Conq. (1877) II. 446 Abbot Mannig‥had been smitten by paralysis.
transf. 1796 H. Hunter tr. St.-Pierre's Stud. Nat. (1799) II. 179 A province considered even at Petersburg as smitten with sterility. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. i. i. i, A France smitten‥with plague after plague.


b. Of personal agents, or of the Deity (cf. 4).

a1300 Cursor M. 20957 A jugelur wit blindnes he smat. c1440 Jacob's Well 126 Þey se noȝt how god smyt hem in here body, wyth sykenes & tribulacyoun. 1535 Coverdale Zech. xiv. 12 This shalbe the plage, wherwith ye Lorde wil smyte all people. 1642 D. Rogers Naaman 30 He forgat himselfe, till the Lord smot him with the plague.


9. To infect, imbue, impress, strike suddenly or strongly with some feeling or sentiment. Chiefly in pa. pple.

a1300 Cursor M. 15643 Wit strang dred he smiton was. 1390 Gower Conf. II. 136 Withoute good discrecioun This king with avarice is smite. 1423 Jas. I. Kingis Q. lviii, Artow seke, or smyt with Ielousye? 1535 Coverdale Job xxi. 6, I am afrayed, and my flesh is smytten with feare. c1622 Fletcher Prophetess iii. i, 'Twas I that‥smote ye all with terrour. 1671 Milton P.R. iv. 562 But Satan smitten with amazement fell. 1718 Pope Iliad i. 354 Smit with love of honourable deeds. 1829 Hood E. Aram 50 The Usher took six hasty strides, As smit with sudden pain. 1849 Macaulay Hist. Eng. i. I. 7 Tyrants, who, when at the height of greatness, were smitten with remorse.


10. a. Of the heart, conscience, etc.: To discompose or disquiet (one); to affect painfully.

1382 Wyclif 2 Sam. xxiv. 10 The herte of Dauid smoot hym, aftir that the puple is noumbred. 1611 Bible 1 Sam. xxiv. 5 Dauids heart smote him, because he had cut off Sauls skirt. a1700 Evelyn Diary 5 May 1659, My heart smote me for it. 1805–6 Cary Dante's Inf. xix. 121 Meanwhile, as thus I sung, he, whether wrath Or conscience smote him, violent upsprang. 1886 ‘H. Conway’ Living or Dead ii. v, I said good-bye with a coldness for which my heart smote me.


b. To distress or perturb (a person, the mind, conscience, etc.).

c1470 Henry Wallace xi. 1366 Thi febyll wordis sall nocht my conscience smyt. 1535 Coverdale 1 Sam. xxiv. 5 It smote him afterwarde in his hert, because he had cut of the typpe of Sauls garment. 1606 Shakes. Ant. & Cl. v. ii. 104 A greefe that smites [pr. suites] My very heart at roote. 1817 Shelley Rev. Islam vii. xxii, Her flight‥smote my lonesome heart more than all misery.


11. a. To strike or impress (the mind, etc.) favourably or attractively. Chiefly in pa. pple. and const. with.

1663 S. Patrick Parab. Pilgr. (1687) 158 They note the pretty stories,‥and here and there a small sentence which smites their fancy. 1728 Pope Dunc. iii. 229 See now, what Dulness and her sons admire! See what the charms, that smite the simple heart. 1784 Cowper Task v. 560 Smit with the beauty of so fair a scene. 1847 H. Miller Test. Rocks (1857) 3 Smit by the singular ingenuity of the philosophic infidel. 1875 Jowett Plato (ed. 2) V. 191 Plato is smitten with some features of government which he finds in Egypt.


b. To inspire or inflame with love; to enamour. Chiefly in pa. pple. and const. with or by.

1663 Pepys Diary 1 Jan., Lord Chesterfield‥is‥put away from Court upon the score of his lady's having smitten the Duke of Yorke. 1677 Miége Fr. Dict. ii. s.v., To smite a man, or cause him to fall in love with her. 1687 —— Gt. Fr. Dict. ii. s.v., To be smitten with a Woman, to be passionately in love with her. 1711 Steele Spect. No. 80 ⁋3 Phillis one Day‥smote the Heart of a gay West-Indian. 1755 Mem. Capt. P. Drake II. xiv. 243 He soon gave me to understand he was smitten with the Landlady. 1848 Thackeray Van. Fair xvii, Young Lieutenant Spatterdash‥was evidently and quickly smitten by Mrs. Crawley. 1871 B. Taylor Faust. i. iii. (1875) II. 32 Hath one of you a girl with whom he's smitten?


12. Of thoughts: To strike or occur suddenly to (a person).

1870 W. M. Baker New Timothy 104 (Cent.), A sudden thought smote her.


III. 13. a. To strike or cut off (the head, a limb, etc.) with a slashing blow. (Common in ME.)

c1205 Lay. 9204 He lette smiten him of þæt hæfde. c1275 Passion our Lord 198 in O.E. Misc. 43 Seynte peter‥smot of Malkes ere. c1385 Chaucer L.G.W. 1817 Lucrece, Men myghte smyte of hire arm or hed. c1450 Merlin xiv. 222 He and Frelent were besy to smyte of his heed. 1568 Grafton Chron. II. 674 He‥commaunded his heade there to be smitten off. a1618 Raleigh Mahomet (1637) 203 With his own hands cut his throat and smoat off his head.


b. To strike or knock, to drive or force with a blow or stroke, away, back, from, off, out, over, etc. (Common in ME.) Also transf.

a1300 Cursor M. 6705 Qua smites vte his thains eie. 1382 Wyclif Matt. x. 14 Smytith awey the dust fro ȝoure feet. c1384 Chaucer H. Fame i. 438 How he lost hys steris-man, Which that the stere‥Smote ouer borde. 14‥ 26 Pol. Poems xxvi. 73 Now hathe age y-smete me fro My pryncipall feder of Iolyte. 1470–85 Malory Arth. iii. vi. 106 Syre gauayne smote hym of his hors. 1535 Coverdale Susanna i. 25 Then ranne there one to the orcharde dore, & smote it open. 1559 Machyn Diary (Camden) 207 Hytt brust in pesses, and on pesse‥smott on of ys leg[s] a-way. 1601 Holland Pliny II. 393 Repressing or smiting backe the swelling incident to wounds. 1684 [see A. 2a. ε].


14. a. To knock, beat, or strike down (†adown), to the earth or ground. (Common in ME.)

c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 316 Hov is þat hit‥smit a-doun wel grete treon? a1300 K. Horn 639 Hi gonne me assaille,‥I smot hem alle to grunde. a1400 Lybeaus Disc. 1185 Thre stedes heoddes doun ryght, He smot at strokes thre. c1470 Henry Wallace xi. 172 To ground he smat him quhar he stud. 1530 Palsgr. 723/1 This wynde hath smytten downe almost all my corne. 1590 Spenser F.Q. iii. i. 28 With that her mortall speare She mightily auentred towards one, And downe him smot. 1611 Bible Judges xx. 39 Surely they are smitten downe before vs. 1858 Sears Athan. ii. xii. 250 He‥smote him blind to the earth beneath the blaze.
fig. c1330 in Pol. Songs (Camden) 339 That is muchel reuthe to wite, That alle manere godnesse is thus adoun i-smite. 1535 Coverdale Ps. cxlii[i]. 3 For the enemie‥smyteth my life downe to the grounde. 1871 Freeman Norm. Conq. (1876) IV. 249 The last hopes of the House of Godwine had been smitten to the ground.


b. With down. To droop or lower (one's head or countenance). Obs.

c1305 in Wright Pol. Songs (Camden) 193 When the Kyng of Fraunce y-herde this tydynge, He smot doun is heved. c1374 Chaucer Troylus ii. 540 With that he smot his heed adoun anone, And gan to motre. 1582 Stanyhurst Æneis iii. (Arb.) 80 Downe she smote her visadge.


15. a. To hew, cut, chop, or break in pieces, fragments, etc. Const. with preps., as a, in, on, to. Also in fig. context. (Common in ME.)

a1320 Sir Tristrem 495 Þe chine he smot atvo. c1375 Cursor M. 21593 (Fairf.), In foure pecis þai hit smate. 1390 Gower Conf. I. 109 A firy thonder sodeinly He sende, and him to pouldre smot. c1440 Gesta Rom. xxxii. 126 Smite the gurdill [of lechery] in thre, scil. in prayer, fastyng, and almesdede. 1530 Palsgr. 723/1 He hath smytten his harnayes al to peces. 1611 Bible Ecclus. xxxvi. 10 Smite in sunder the heads of the rulers.


b. To bring into a certain condition by, or as by, striking. Also with adj. compl. rare.

1338 R. Brunne Chron. (1810) 46 Þei were a partie smyten in to elde. 1644 Milton Areop. (Arb.) 67 If we look not wisely on the Sun it self, it smites us into darknes. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. iii. iii. vii, Rabidity smites others rabid.


16. a. To strike (fire) from a stone or other hard substance. Cf. slay v.1 2. Obs.

c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 237 He brouȝte a fuyr-Ire ant a ston, Þare-with to smite me fuyr. c1440 Gesta Rom. lxvi. 298 Whan þe nyȝt com, þe maide‥smot fire at a stone. 1616 B. Jonson Barriers Wks. 966 When in a day of honour fire was smit. 1671 J. Webster Metallogr. vii. 115 He nameth four of other colours, forth of which fire is smitten.


b. To let out (blood) by lancing. Obs.—1

1523 Fitzherb. Husb. §58 Take a bloud-yren, and set it streight vppon the vayne, and smyte him bloudde on bothe sydes.


17. a. To strike, deal, or give (a blow, stroke, etc.).

1297 R. Glouc. (Rolls) 4441 Vewe duntes hii smite. c1320 Cast. Love 1148 Grete boffetes among me him smot. 1390 Gower Conf. II. 72 Thei smyten strokes bot a fewe. c1450 Merlin xxiii. 424 Merlin‥drough that wey‥smytinge grete strokes from oke to oke. 1490 Caxton Eneydos lvi. 152 She smotte grete strokes with her swerde. 1851 Hawthorne Snow Image, etc. (1879) 84 A terrible blow shall be smitten.


b. To engage in or fight (a battle). Obs.

1297 R. Glouc. (Rolls) 269 Hii smite þer an bataile hard an strong inou. 1338 R. Brunne Chron. (1810) 14 Under Elendoune þe bataile was smyten. a1470 Harding Chron. cxvii. i. 6 Syxe batayles agayne King Knout he smote. 1600 Holland Livy xl. l. 1091 [He] smit a brave and fortunate battaile with the Vaccei. 1631 Weever Anc. Funeral Mon. 317 This battell was smitten in the yeare of Grace 457.


c. To make or produce (a wound, etc.) by smiting. Obs.

a1400 Stockh. Medical MS. i. 298 in Anglia XVIII. 302 Ȝif a gret wounde‥be‥with a wepyn wyckydly smetyn. 1470–85 Malory Arth. ii. xviii. 97 They hadde eyther smyten other seuen grete woundes. 1535 Coverdale 1 Sam. xix. 8 Dauid wente forth‥and smote a greate slaughter, so that they fled before him. 1581 Munday Brief Discourse in Arb. Garner VIII. 215 note, Drawing his dagger, he smit a great hole in it.


18. a. To drive, hammer, knock, strike (a thing) with some degree of force against, into, on, etc., something else.

a1300 Cursor M. 6261 In þe see his wand he smat. c1330 R. Brunne Chron. Wace (Rolls) 4422 Nemny bar þe scheld o sker, & Iulius smot his swerd ouer fer. a1400–50 Alexander 3678 Smeten was smaragdans in-to þe smeth werkis. 1502 Arnolde Chron. 165 Make pinnys of wylowe and smyte them faste in. 1593 Shakes. Lucr. 176 His falchion on a flint he softly smiteth. 1611 Bible Judges iv. 21 Then Iael‥went softly vnto him, and smote the naile into his temples. 1670 Pettus Fodinæ Reg. 41 Then the Smiter of Irons‥smites them upon the Monie. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. i. iv. ii, Large clubs, which they smite angrily against the pavement! Ibid. ii. i. xii, Each smiting heartily his palm into his fellow's.


b. To strike, dash, or clap together (†samen) or against each other.

a1300 Cursor M. 11998 Iesus samen [Trin. togider] his handes smat. 1398 Trevisa Barth. De P.R. xix. cxlii. (1495) 946 Cymbales‥ben smytte togider and sowneth and ryngeth. 1535 Coverdale Ecclus. xiii. 2 Yf ye one be smytten agaynst the other, it shal be broken. 1611 Bible Numb. xxiv. 10 Hee smote his hands together. 1671 J. Webster Metallogr. vi. 102 Which rubbed hard or smitten together forcibly,‥give sparks of fire. 1842 Tennyson Morte d'Arthur 86 But when he saw the wonder of the hilt,‥he smote His palms together.


c. refl. (Cf. sense 24.) Obs.

c1205 Lay. 25605 Þes drake and beore‥smiten heom to~gaderen mid feondliche ræsen. 1297 R. Glouc. (Rolls) 8323 Hii bisegede vaste the toun, so þat the þridde day Þe cristine ost smot him out. 1390 Gower Conf. I. 120 So that ayein a Roche of Ston‥He smot himself til he was ded. 1490 Caxton Eneydos lx. 158 [They] ranne soone to fetche theyr armures. And thenne Turnus smote hym selfe in to the troians.


d. In pa. pple. Stuck (full) of, studded or set thickly (with). Obs.

a1400–50 Alexander 5424 With corouns on hede, As it smytten ware all‥of smaragdens fine. c1460 Contin. Brut 518 His brigantines smytten ful of gylted nayles.


19. a. To make or contract (an agreement, etc.).

c1325 Lei le Freine 322 Treuthe [was] plight. Allas! that he no hadde y-wite, Er the forward were y-smite. 1382 Wyclif Gen. xxi. 27 Bothe thei smyten a boond of pees. 1596 H. Clapham Brief Bible i. 31 Iehovah appeareth and smiteth a Covenant with him.


b. To strike or coin (money). Obs.

1338 R. Brunne Chron. (1810) 238 Edward did smyte rounde peny, halfpeny, ferthyng. 1390 Gower Conf. II. 138 Er gold was smite In Coign. 1423 Rolls of Parlt. IV. 258/1 That the Maister of the Mynte do smyte‥half nobles. 1535 Coverdale 1 Macc. xv. 6, I geue the leaue to smyte money of thine owne.


c. To hew or cut (a step). Obs. rare.

a1400–50 Alexander 3342 Of a Smeth smaragadane Smyten was þe toþir [step].


d. To cut off (a helping of meat). Obs. rare.

a1483 Liber Niger in Househ. Ord. (1790) 59 That the messes‥be smyttyn in a suffycyaunt and according manner.


20. a. To strike (an hour); to announce or notify by sounding a bell. Obs. (Cf. 21c.)

c1369 Chaucer Dethe Blaunche 1323 In the castell ther was a belle, As hyt hadde smyte oures twelve Therewyth I a-wooke my selve. 1389 in Eng. Gilds (1870) 60 Ho-so komys aftyr prime be smytyn, he xal pay‥j.d. c1450 in Aungier Syon (1840) 373 Whylst‥the president smytethe allign [sc. all in], the couente schal stonde in the freytour.


b. To discharge (a cannon). Obs. rare.

c1450–75 in Halliw. E. Eng. Misc. (Warton Cl.) 52 That gonne was welle smet, Thoȝ it had be with a stonne.


IV. absol. or intr.


21. a. To deal or give a blow or blows; to strike, deliver strokes. Also with advs., as on, out. †Of a horse: To kick or fling.

c1200 Trin. Coll. Hom. 61 Bute we turnen to gode‥he wile smite mid bredlinge swuerde. c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 316 No wonder þei it smite harde. 13‥ Sir Beues (A.) 404 A lokeþ, as a wolde smite Wiþ is bat. 1382 Wyclif 1 Esdras iv. 8 If he seie to smyten, thei smite. 14‥ Guy Warw. 10248 Mases of yron‥for to smyte wele. c1470 Henry Wallace iii. 363 ‘Smyt on,’ he said, ‘I defy thine actioune’. 1530 Palsgr. 723/1 You smyte to harde. 1535 Coverdale Luke xxii. 49 Lorde, shal we smyte with the swerde? 1600 Surflet Countrie Farme 178 If he see that he beginne not to smite and snort,‥he shall leade him by the reines out of the stable. 1667 Milton P.L. vi. 250 Satan‥Saw where the Sword of Michael smote. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. i. vi. iii, Louis‥clutched the tongs, and even smote with them. 1890 Doyle White Company vii, There was one, indeed,‥who smote out like a true man.
fig. c1400 Beryn 1456 Yeur wyff woll sikirliche‥smyte with hir tunge. 1624 Quarles Sion's Elegies ii. xix, That God that smit, oh, mooue that God to heale.


b. To strike with a hammer in doing smith-work; now spec. to strike with the sledge.

1388 Wyclif Isaiah xli. 7 A smyth of metal smytynge with an hamer. 1560 Bible (Geneva) Ibid., So the worke~man comforted the founder, & he that smote with the hammer, him that smote by course. 1881 T. Hardy Laodicean i. iv, The husband used to smite for Jimmy More the blacksmith. 1888 Elworthy W. Somerset Word-bk. 685 The smith hammers, the assistant smites.


c. Of a clock: To strike, chime. Obs.

1448–9 in Willis & Clark Cambridge (1886) I. 383 He wold‥neuer go to werke till the clocke smyte. 1470–85 Malory Arthur xiv. xii. 681 Thenne he herde a clok smyte on his ryght hand. c1550 Coverdale Order of Church in Denmark in tr. Calvin's Treat. Sacrament Eiijb, Whan the clocke smyteth (which is comenly .vii. in Sommer, & .viii. in wynter).


22. a. To strike, deliver a blow or stroke, etc., at, on, or upon (also †to) something.

c1205 Lay. 23963 Frolle‥a-dun riht sloh, and smat an Arðures sceld. c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 231 He gan i-mete þis luþere fisch, and smot to him faste. 13‥ Sir Beues (A.) 1043 So harde þe smitest vpon me kroun. 1387–8 T. Usk Test. Love iii. vii. (Skeat) I. 99 So ofte must men on the oke smyte, til the happy dent have entred. 1412–20 Lydg. Chron. Troy iii. 1204 [Menelaus] smette at him with his scharpe swerde Vp-on þe hede. c1450 Merlin xxxi. 624 Ye shull smyte vpon hem of that other partye. 1535 Coverdale Jer. xxxi. 19, I shall smyte vpon my thee. 1611 Bible Exod. vii. 17, I will smite with the rod‥vpon the waters which are in the riuer.
transf. 1842 Tennyson Locksley Hall 33 Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might.


b. Of things, in lit. or fig. uses.

1412–20 Lydg. Chron. Troy ii. 5075 On hillis hiȝe gan his bemys smyte. 1667 Milton P.L. i. 298 The torrid Clime Smote on him sore besides. 1837 Whittier Fountain 88 Iron clang and hammer's ringing Smote upon his ear. 1852 Mrs. Stowe Uncle Tom's C. iii. 15 The words smote heavily on Eliza's heart.


23. a. To come together (or samen) in conflict.

c1205 Lay. 5183 Heo smiten to-gædere; helmes þere gullen. c1250 Gen. & Ex. 2109 Ðe ranc he hauen ðo ouer~cumen, To-samen it smiten. 1382 Wyclif 1 Esdras ii. 22 Kingis and cites smitende togidere. 14‥ Guy Warw. 1893 Now þey smyten faste samen: I wot, ther was lytull gamen. 1470–85 Malory Arthur iv. xviii. 142 [They] smote to gyders with her swerdes that her sheldes flewe in cantels. 1590 Spenser F.Q. i. v. 8 As when a Gryfon‥A Dragon fiers encountreth‥: With hideous horrour both together smight.


b. To come together with some degree of force; to strike or dash on or against something.

c1275 Lay. 1788 Þe sipes smiten o þan strond. c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 69 And euere þat watur bi-hinden him smot to-gadere þere. 1398 Trevisa Barth. De P. R. v. xxvii. (Bodl. MS.), By hardenes of boones þat smyteþ and meueþ togedres. 1535 Coverdale Dan. v. 6 His knees smote one agaynst the other. 1611 Bible Nahum ii. 10 The heart melteth, and the knees smite together. 1817 Shelley Rev. Islam iv. i, The old man took the oars, and soon the bark Smote on the beach.


24. To shoot or move rapidly; to dart, rush.

c1220 Bestiary 507 in O.E. Misc., Vt of his ðrote it smit an onde. a1225 Ancr. R. 94 Ase swifte‥ase is þe sunne gleam, þet smit from east into þe west. 13‥ K. Alis. 494 (Laud MS.), Þe lyoun smoot in to þe Est. 1481 Caxton Godfrey cxxx. 194 Thyse thre smote in emong the .xxx. turkes.


25. a. To strike, to pass or penetrate, in, into, or through something.

c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 316 Ȝwane þe wynd and þat fuyr smiteth þoruȝ þe watur-cloude. c1386 Chaucer Knt.'s T. 362 The deeth he feeleth thurgh his herte smyte. 1393 Langl. P. Pl. C. xx. 323 Þe smoke and þe smorþre þat smyt in oure eyen. c1400 Ywaine & Gaw. 377 In my face the levening smate. a1425 Cursor M. 11824 (Trin.), Þe fester smoot þourȝe his body. 1535 Coverdale 1 Sam. xix. 10 The iauelynge smote in the wall. a1652 J. Smith Sel. Disc. vi. 187 From whence the objects of dread and admiration‥smite and insinuate themselves into their senses. 1869 Tennyson Coming of Arthur 57 But Arthur‥Felt the light of her eyes into his life Smite on the sudden.


b. To give pain to one's heart. Obs.

a1300 K. Horn 1481 Hit smot to hornes herte So bitere þat hit smerte. c1450 Coventry Myst. 81 Ȝour swemynge smytyht to myn hert depe.


c. To occur suddenly to one. Obs.

c1440 Alph. Tales 20 It smate in his mynd þat it was bod ane illusion of þe devull.


26. To change, pass, fall, into something. Obs.

c1305 St. Dunstan 74 in E.E.P. (1862) 36 Treoflinge heo smot her and þer in anoþer tale sone. 13‥ Gaw. & Gr. Knt. 1763 With smoþe smylyng & smolt þay smeten in-to merþe. 14‥ Guy Warw. (C.) 1196 To þe erthe he felle downe And smete in a grete swowne.