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Streetspeak for an abandoned building, typically one used for illegal or illicit activity. When a smitty is used for purposes of smoking crack, it may also be known as a crackhouse or a smokehouse. A smitty may be pressed into service in other areas, as well. For example, a smitty might also be used as a drinking spot, a refuge for fugitives or the homeless, or as an impromptu whorehouse.

Have you seen Pookie and Ray Ray?

Yeah, they went down to the smitty on Decatur and Jeff Davis to fire one up.

One notable exception to the "illegal activity" requirement occurs when a family living in an otherwise legitimate home falls on hard times, and consequently stops paying rent and utility bills. Under such circumstances, and barring a lawful eviction, the family in question still legally resides in the house, but the house has now become a smitty, or "smittified."

Despite attempts to determine how this term evolved, its origin remains a mystery. Unlike more common phrases, such as "crib," there is no easily identifiable basis for the use of the word "smitty" to describe such abandoned buildings.

One possibility arises from the phrase's apparent restriction to the greater Richmond area, since I have as yet found no examples of its use elsewhere. If that is true, the phrase may originate from an abandoned building in Richmond which previously bore the business name "Smitty" or "Smitty's," a term often used as a nickname for "Smith." This is merely a hypothesis, though, and has not as yet been investigated.

BrevityQuest 2007

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