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smog, n.

Hear pronunciation/smɑɡ/
Frequency (in current use):  Show frequency band information
Etymology: Blend of smoke n. and fog n.2
1905   Daily Graphic 26 July 10/2   In the engineering section of the Congress Dr. H. A. des Vœux, hon. treasurer of the Coal Smoke Abatement Society, read a paper on ‘Fog and Smoke’. He said it required no science to see that there was something produced in great cities which was not found in the country, and that was smoky fog, or what was known as ‘smog’.
1905   Globe 27 July 3/5   The other day at a meeting of the Public Health Congress Dr. Des Vœux did a public service in coining a new word for the London fog, which was referred to as ‘smog’, a compound of ‘smoke’ and ‘fog’.
1918   C. W. Saleeby Sci. National Kitchens 2   The hateful ‘smog’.
1921   Glasgow Herald 29 Nov. 6   It is said that Glasgow's ‘smog’ has declined in body and bouquet during the last few years.
1938   Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Va.) 12 May 7   In the opinion of many medical authorities, ‘smog’ is the principal reason why Pittsburgh has the highest pneumonia death rate in the United States.
1950   Economist 25 Feb. 432/2   Smog is a problem, far from completely understood as yet, of air contamination not by smoke, but by the fumes and gases—sulphur compounds, chlorine and so on—given off by modern industrial processes such as oil refining, chemical manufacturing and metallurgy.
1955   Sci. Amer. May 63/3   At first it was thought that smoke, dust, sulfur dioxide and hydrofluoric acid were responsible for the smog [in Los Angeles], but soon it became clear that these known pollutants, in the concentrations measured on smoggy days, could not cause the physiological effects observed... It was then that A. J. Haagen-Smit..suggested that peroxides and ozonides of hydrocarbons were responsible for smog.
1961   L. Mumford City in Hist. xv. 479   Nor have they eliminated the unburned hydrocarbons which help produce the smog that blankets such a motor-ridden conurbation as Los Angeles.
1975   D. Lodge Changing Places ii. 71   It was difficult to tell whether the sediment thickening the atmosphere was rain or sleet or smog.

1905—1975(Hide quotations)


 2. figurative. A state or condition of obscurity or confusion; something designed to confuse or obscure.

1954   Ann. Reg. 1953 i. 54   Lord Reading..described it [sc. the Russian Note] in the House of Lords as 18 pages of ‘somewhat dismal and turgid “smog”’.
1976   Billings (Montana) Gaz. 30 June 1- a/1   When the political smog clears, Billings city government somehow continues to function.
1978   D. Bloodworth Crosstalk xxiv. 191   He hoped..Zoe's gift might pierce the gathering smog? Because things were getting tough, and the Russians were..accusing the Maoists of trying to flood Moscow with narcotics.

1954—1978(Hide quotations)



 C1. General attributive and objective.

  smog-bank   n.

1975   Country Life 16 Jan. 130/2   Take a commuter jet from Los Angeles to San Francisco... You rise above the smog-bank.

1975—1975(Hide quotations)


  smog-burner   n.

1961   Engineering 27 Jan. 175/3   The smog-burner is a mechanical rather than a chemical or catalytic device.

1961—1961(Hide quotations)


  smog mask   n.

1954   Ann. Reg. 1953 iv. 391   The year 1953 might well be remembered as the one in which ‘smog’ masks first appeared.
1979   Listener 5 July 6/1   Visiting journalists [to Tokyo]..were amazed to find they didn't have to wear smog-masks.

1954—1979(Hide quotations)


  smog producer   n.

1951   Sun (Baltimore) (B ed.) 31 Dec. 14/2   More than a dozen Baltimore firms have been definitely albeit informally tagged as smog producers.

1951—1951(Hide quotations)


  smog-bound adj.

1970   New Scientist 1 Jan. 8/3   Smogbound, noise-deafened, misanthropic Londoners..might be taking their high blood pressure with them.

1970—1970(Hide quotations)


  smog-free adj.

1959   News Chron. 19 June 4/3   The six-bedroom houses hardly get dirty in California's smog-free climate.
1981   Times 6 Aug. 7/7   Smog-free sunsets over the Indian Ocean.

1959—1981(Hide quotations)


  smog-producing adj.

1970   New Scientist 13 Aug. 324/1   Efforts to curb auto-pollution concern the directly poisonous or smog-producing colourless emissions of carbon monoxide, unburnt hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides.

1970—1970(Hide quotations)




  smog   v. North American colloquial transitive  (a) with out, up: to cover or envelop in smog;  (b) with in: to confine or imprison because of smog; frequently passive.

1966   P. Tamony Americanisms (typescript) No. 14. 2   The era of the motor-car smogged up greenery.
1970   Globe & Mail (Toronto) 28 Sept. 4/1   Mr. Lewis was ‘smogged in’ at Sudbury..and was unable to arrive in time for the Ottawa meeting.
1974   Sci. News 24 Aug. 136   Conventional geodesy depends on clear lines of sight, and in the Los Angeles basin these are often smogged out.

1966—1974(Hide quotations)


  smogged adj.

1982   Christian Sci. Monitor (Mid-Western ed.) 8 Dec. 12   Yet you can't do it because they have to meet the same pollution standards they do in heavily smogged areas.

1982—1982(Hide quotations)


This entry has not yet been fully updated (first published 1933; most recently modified version published online March 2021).

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