He was smeared in/with blood when he came out of the house.

Are both 'in' and 'with' OK? Are they equally natural here?

2 Answers 2


No, they aren't equally natural. We don't say "smeared in" (at least not common usage). See this Ngram.

See this collocation dictionary: Ozdic {but be warned this may not be very reliable}

across, on, (all) over, with
The child had smeared jam all over her face.

See Oxford dictionary example:

His face was smeared with blood.

More blood related examples, see Cambridge dictionary:

Can you explain why the front of your car is smeared with blood?


When you are smearing something, you are performing an action of placing one thing on another. So, when you say you are smearing, then you need to give context with what you are smearing, such as smear with blood.

You would use in blood if you are talking about doing something within the blood. Such as swimming in blood NOT swimming with blood.

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