Middle English Dictionary Entry

smīten v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. bismiten v., forsmiten v., ofsmiten v., & ismiten v. (Suppl.).
1a.
(a) To deal a blow, strike, beat; do battle, fight; also fig.; also, slash with a sword [quots. a1420, a1450(1408), a1460]; also, of a battle: be fought, rage [quot. a1500 Octav.(1)]; ~ adoun (doun-right), strike downward; ~ after, make a return blow; ~ to, lay on blows; ~ with fot, stamp; ppl. smitinge as adj.: striking; (b) to strike (sb. or sth., oneself), hit, beat; also fig.; also used of wind [quot. c1475]; ~ glove (honde), clap one's hands; ~ with fot, kick (sb. or sth.); ppl. smiten, struck, smitten; also, as noun: a person who has been struck [quot. a1382]; (c) to strike (a blow); also used of wind and fire [1st quot.]; fight (a battle); give (sb. or sth. a blow); (d) to kill (sb.); ~ al to ground, ~ to ded (deth); (e) fig. to affect (sb.) forcibly; (f) to tap (sb. or sth.); also, pat (sb.), slap; (g) in proverbs; also fig. of God [some quots. in (g) may belong to 3.]; also in fig. allusion to a proverb [quots. a1425, c1475].
1b.
In phrases: (a) ~ a)doun, to knock (sb. or sth.) down, fell, lay low; also fig.; ~ oute, knock out (an eye, a tooth, barrel head), knock down (a pinnacle); also, smash open (a barrel); ~ to ground, knock someone or each other down; also, knock (sb. or sth.) to the ground; ~ in-to feld, ~ overbord, ~ toth of (oute of) mouth, etc.; smiten doun, as noun: the downcast; (b) ~ at, to strike (sb. or sth.), strike at (sb.); ~ awei, brush off (a fly); also, sweep away (temptations); ~ ayen, attack (sb.); also, knock (sth.) backward; ~ from, fig. cut (sb.) off from (the power of speech), leave (sb.) speechless; (c) ~ on, to strike (sb. or sth.); ~ to, strike (sb. or sth.), strike at (sb.); also, of wings: beat (one) against (the other); ~ togeder, strike at each other; (d) ~ up, to strike (sth.); also, dig up (briars); ~ upon, strike (sb. or sth.); also fig.; also, of the air: affect (sth.).
2.
(a) To pierce, penetrate, strike with an arrow; also fig.; of a scorpion: sting, wound; ppl. smitinge, piercing, wounding; (b) to pierce (sb. or sth., oneself), stab; strike (sb. or sth.) with an arrow; also fig.; prick (a horse with spurs); ~ in, stab (sb.); ~ thurgh (thurghoute), transpierce (sb.); ~ to deth, kill (sb.) with a projectile; (c) to gash (sb., oneself), lacerate, gore; sting (sb. or sth.); claw (prey), strike with claws; hook (a fish); (d) ben) smiten, to be) studded (with nails, jewels, etc.); (e) fig. to affect the senses; touch (the heart), pierce; ~ in, strike in, penetrate; also, pierce into (the heart), enter (the mind); ~ to, pierce (sb., sb. to the heart), pierce to (the heart); ~ upon, prick (the heart); (f) ~ on, to pierce (sb.), wound; ~ oute, thrust out (an eye), poke out; ~ to, thrust at (sb.).
3.
(a) To bring about affliction, bring death; inflict distress, cause suffering; (b) to afflict (sb., a people, the earth); distress (part of the body), impair (intelligence); ppl. smitinge, afflicting (sb.); also, as noun: one who afflicts (sb.); (c) ben smiten awei, to be cut off, be exterminated; ben smiten in (of, with), be afflicted by (disease, avarice, etc.); ben smiten bi deth, be struck down by death; ppl. smiten, blighted; (d) to defeat (sb., a people, a city), overcome; destroy (sb. or sth.); ~ to ivel deth; ~ to, of death: destroy (sb.); (e) to make a verbal attack on (sb.); rebuke (sins).
4.
(a) To cut off (sth., part of the body), sever; ~ awei, cut away (flesh, part of a body, a head); ~ doun, strike off (part of a helmet); (b) to slice (sth.), cut, cut up, divide; split (a capon); divide (a book into sections); (c) ~ asonder (atwein, atwo, in two, on twein), cut through (sth.), cut in two, dissever; (d) ~ of (forth), to cut off (a head, the neck with the head, a piece of a body, etc.); ~ forth short, cut (the legs) off short.
5.
(a) To strike so as to make (sth.), strike (a coin), forge (a weapon); fashion (sth. from raw material); of a thunderbolt: make (a pit); ~ in, beat (gold, silver) into (money); (b) to strike (fire); also fig.; touch off (a cannon), set off; (c) to strike so as to cause (a wound, slaughter, pain); inflict (a wound) on (sb., a crucifix); ~ oute, put out (a fire); ~ pes, call for silence by striking; ~ in smal, ~ to poudre, smash (sth.) to pieces; (d) to signal (a time) by striking a bell; of a bell: strike (the hour); of chimes: sound (a requiem); of a clock: strike; also, strike (the hour); (e) to conclude (a pact, an agreement); ~ up, ?agree to a pact; (f) to urge (a horse) on with spurs.
6.
(a) Of light, sunbeams: to strike (the eyes), illuminate (sth.); of lightning: dazzle (the sight); ~ ayen (upon), of the sun: shine on (sth.); ~ in, of light: strike (sth.); also, blaze into (sth.); of lightning: coruscate in (someone's face); of the sun: dazzle (eyes); ~ on, of the sun: beat on (someone's head); of a glance: light on (sb.); (b) of thunder and lightning, a thunderbolt: to strike; strike (sth.), break up, destroy; ~ adoun; ~ in-to peces; ~ to poudre, pulverize (sth.); also, of God: destroy (sb. with a thunderbolt); ben smiten awei, be blasted away (by a thunderbolt).
7.
(a) To thrust (a sword, knife, nail), drive, impel; ~ in, thrust (a spear) in; also, drive (a nail, an arrow) into (sb. or sth.), thrust; also fig.; drive (a ship) onto (sands); also, set (a lance) in (a rest); smiten in, fixed in, stuck in; also fig.; smiten in-to, embedded in (sth.); smiten to, directed to (God); (b) to direct (light, sunbeams, onto sth.); cast (fire at sb.), blast; (c) ~ ayen, to dash (oneself) against (a rock); ~ knes to erthe, bring one's knees smartly to the ground, kneel down at once; ~ on (in, upon), move (sth.) into sharp contact with (sth.); ~ samen (togeder), clap (hands, wings) together; (d) ~ adoun (doun), to lower (the head), hang down; swing (a mattock) downwards; close (a lid).
8.
(a) To force out (words), spit out, utter forcefully; ~ ayen (ayen-ward), reflect (light); ~ doun, repress (thoughts); ~ of, disperse (sth.); ~ oute, belch (smoke); ~ upward, force (sth.) up, eject; (b) med. to squeeze (sb.), compress; drive (humor or matter somewhere in the body); ~ ayen, drive inward, repress; also, drive (humors) inward, disperse (blood, an ache); also, treat (an aposteme) with repercussive medicines; ~ in, drive (humors) inward; treat (a swelling) with repercussive medicines; ~ inward, drive humors, etc. inward, have a repercussive effect; ~ of, drive away (a swelling), reduce; (c) to shake (sth.); also fig.; ~ awei, shake (sth.) off; ~ oute, shake (sth.) off; also, shake (sb.) out; -- used fig.; ~ togeder, shake (sth.), cause (sth.) to shake; also fig.; ppl. smitinge as adj.: shaking, throbbing.
9.
(a) To go, move; of air, heat, odor, etc.: spread, be diffused, penetrate; of a wind: blow; of a ship: ground, go aground; of a person on a ship: land, disembark; ~ adoun; ~ doun, of a kind of smoke: force its way down (into the heart); ~ in, of smoke: get in (the eyes); ~ up, of a smell: rise up; of a kind of smoke: force its way up (to the head); (b) to go quickly, hasten, rush; leap, dart, charge; refl. hurl oneself; ~ her and ther, fig. flit from one topic or thought to another; comen ~ oute (up), come rushing out (up); ppl. smitinge as adj.: flashing; (c) ~ in a swoun, to faint; refl. ~ in-to ivel thought; ~ in-to mirthe (in felonie), fall into merriment (wickedness); ~ in-to spasme, undergo a spasm; ben) smiten in-to elde, to have) grown old; (d) ~ at, to rush at (an opponent), attack; ~ samen (tosamen), come together in conflict; ~ togeder(es, come together; clash together, collide; come together in conflict; -- also refl. [some quots. in (d) may belong in 1a.(a)].
10.
In misc. senses: (a) to beat (a percussion instrument), pluck (a harp, string); -- also without obj.; ~ for, pluck (a string); ~ in, strike (a percussion instrument); ppl. smitinge as adj.: percussive; (b) to celebrate (a feast); (c) to throw or cast something; also, hit (sth.) with a missile.
11.
To smear (sth.), stain; taint (sb.); -- also without obj.; ppl. smitinge as adj., of a disease: infectious; [cp. smitten v.].

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1425 *Treat.Uroscopy (Wel 225)358/5465 : Evermare in aposteme on þe lyvyre þe veynes smytys, bod skylfully soft.
  • Note: Of a vein: to beat (i.e., pulse).--per REL

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1500?Scrope Ribot First Monks (Lamb 192)127/17 : Thoo that Iohn seyd in the forseyd book in geeran be suasyon, Albert smytenge [L: amputando] of alle causes of dowtfulnesse in hys statute made specyal determynacion.
  • Note: Ed.: "'smytenge' amputando (removing, eliminating). MED does not record this metaphorical use of 'smiten', but the meaning is clear."
    Note: New sense, fig.