Smooth is a very common term and has a lot of meanings; my question is on smooth meaning:

Ingratiatingly polite and agreeable.

Is smooth commonly used with that meaning and is it a synonym of 'polite' or has it different shades of meaning?

2 Answers 2


This is a common usage. Consider this definition from OD

(Of a person or their manner, actions, or words) suavely charming in a way considered to be unctuous: his voice was infuriatingly smooth

The popular song by Sade, Smooth Operator describes a man who is polished but insincere

A license to love, insurance to hold

Melts all your memories and change into gold

His eyes are like angels but his heart is cold

A similar term is slick

Smooth and superficially impressive but insincere or shallow

  • I see, so 'smooth' used with that meaning carries a slight negative connotation and has little to do with 'polite' I guess!
    – user66974
    Jun 6, 2014 at 16:28
  • It has a definite negative connotation. While someone might characterize a friend's action as smooth or even slick in a colloquial way, most times the meaning is generally too smooth, so carefully crafted as to be deceitful.
    – bib
    Jun 6, 2014 at 16:52

It's meaning is based on it's usage.

  • adjective: generally flat or unruffled

This is a very smooth surface

  • verb: to make smooth of surface, as by scraping, planing, or pressing.

He smoothed over my disappointment with kind words.

  • noun: act of smoothing

She adjusted the folds with a smooth of her hand.

  • Thanks, but I am asking for a specific meaning of 'smooth' and its usage as written in my question.
    – user66974
    Jun 6, 2014 at 11:05
  • most common usage is the first one. Usually in dictionaries the first meaning is the most commonly used one. And in any language the most common is the most specific.
    – John Eipe
    Jun 6, 2014 at 11:46
  • So? He didn't ask what the most common meaning is. He asked whether the meaning he described is also common.
    – Barmar
    Jun 6, 2014 at 15:36
  • Where are those citations from? Please tell us the name of where you got those from, and if applicable, also a link. If you are going copy out text verbatim, our Help Center says that you must name where you got the original from, and this post fails to do that. Please see the question on meta entitled “What to do about missing source attributions: Copying, Linking, Attributions, and Plagiarism for discussion on this.
    – tchrist
    Jul 7, 2014 at 22:35
  • sorry. I don't remember.
    – John Eipe
    Jul 8, 2014 at 7:45

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