Fowler's smit reads

Its most frequent use is as the participle smitten, ‘infatuated, fascinated’. When the object of the fascination is a person, with is much more often used than by; when the object is inanimate, the pattern is the opposite.

What are the reasons for such choice?

OED: https://oed.com/oed2/00228565 AND https://oed.com/oed2/00228536

  • Smitten in smitten with functions like an adjective. Smitten in smitten by displays the passive voice. Mar 16 '21 at 19:42
  • @TinfoilHat ENAMOR (transitive) to fill or inflame with love (usually used in the passive and followed by of or sometimes with): wordreference.com/definition/enamored
    – GJC
    Mar 16 '21 at 20:02
  • @TinfoilHat SMITE (transitive) [usually: be + smitten] to affect mentally, morally, or emotionally with a strong and sudden feeling. wordreference.com/definition/smite
    – GJC
    Mar 16 '21 at 20:03
  • @TinfoilHat OED: oed.com/oed2/00228565 AND oed.com/oed2/00228536
    – GJC
    Mar 16 '21 at 20:06
  • Smitten, like most perfect participles, can refer to a past event, or to the results of that event. By is the agentive marker for passive, so smitten by X refers to some previous smiting that X did to the subject. If smitten refers to the present resultant state rather than the past event, you'd use a different -- and arbitrarily chosen -- preposition, in this case with, which is determined by the participle smitten, rather than by the requirements of the passive construction. Mar 16 '21 at 20:17

It is not a choice, it is usage. According to Google Books, especially from the ‘80s.

This site suggests the following nuances between “smitten with” vs “smitten by:”

Both smitten by and smitten with appear to be acceptable. Smitten with may be slightly more common, but not by much. If you feel the need to make a distinction, being smitten by someone could imply some sort of action on the part of the adored person; being smitten with someone could imply that he or she is unaware of your affection and has done nothing to encourage it—but those aren't hard-and-fast rules.



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