Grammar questions on the phrase "to be smitten"

Take the sentence “I am smitten with you.”

Now, can one take the word “smitten” and use it in other ways?

For example, “It seems I am smitting you as we speak,” to describe the process of wooing another person. This sounds terribly wrong, but is this possible, or should it be used in another way?

I am suspecting this is one of those words that can only be used in one form…

If one can be smitten, can one smit? Or smite?

But smite, of course means something completely different.

Are the words related? Please help me figure this out, as it is causing me great distress.

Oh, there are some others. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate gives “children smitten with the fear of hell.” You can also be smitten by appendicitis.

“to be smitten” in the sense of falling in love is probably a shortened form of a phrase like “to be smitten down by love” or something. It’s just that they leave off the “by love” part. It does, in fact, come from the word “smite.”

So one could say, “I am going to smite you with the fear of hell!” or the such?

And, similarly (but more uncommonly), “I shall smite you with my love!” If, of course, one was intent on using “to smite” and “love” or the like in the same sentence…

Nope. It means the same thing, it is just that you are using it in a figure of speech so old that people are beginning to forget what the metaphor is: love so sudden and so overwhelming that it is like a knock-down blow.


Being smitten by someone is similar to being “love-struck”, another smack-related metaphor.

smite - smote - smitten - smiting

hit - hit - hit - hitting

Gee, I wonder why the previous has fallen behind in popularity with English speakers while the latter enjoys continued common use?

From the O.E.D.
smitten (_________), ppl. a.
[See smite v. A. 3 _.]
That has been smit; beaten, struck. Also absol. with down.
Take a look at the variouse forms in the dictionary to find all the usages. The O.E.D. gives may examples of usage as well as definitions.

Smiting? are you sure??


Don’t some of you people have dictionaries?

‘Smitten’ has an advantage over "Lovestruck’ in that it rhymes with ‘kitten’, while "lovestruck’ merely suggests ‘dump truck.’ This makes it a much more useful choice for writing cloying verse.

Using both in combination can sometimes go terribly wrong, as in my early effort Litter Under The Wheels, the only redeeming thing about which might be said being that it was written in headless tetrameter, which I still fancy was a bit clever.

Love hurts.