Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 13, 2019 is:
smite • SMYTE • verb
1 : to strike sharply or heavily especially with the hand or an implement held in the hand
2 a : to kill or severely injure by so striking
b : to attack or afflict suddenly and injuriously
3 : to cause to strike
4 : to affect as if by striking
The cartoon’s villain was, as tradition would have it, smote by an anvil dropping mysteriously from the sky.
“Down the street, Teresa Benner’s 1963, 23-window Volkswagen van was also turning heads. She bought it recently when it came up at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona. She was smitten at first sight.” — Joel Mills, The Lewiston (Idaho) Morning Tribune, 23 June 2019
Did you know?
Today’s word has been part of the English language for a very long time; the earliest documented use in print dates to the 12th century. Smite can be traced back to the Old English smītan, meaning “to smear or defile.” Smītan is akin to the Scottish word smit, meaning “to stain, contaminate, or infect,” as well as to the Old High German bismīzan, “to defile.” In addition to its “strike” and “attack” senses, smite has a softer side. As of the mid-17th century, it can mean “to captivate or take”—a sense that is frequently used in the past participle in such contexts as “smitten by her beauty” or “smitten with him” (meaning “in love with him”). Its past tense is smote.