Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

smell a rat

Definition of smell a rat

informal

  1. :  to think or suspect that something is wrong about a situation <She smelled a rat when her husband came home with lipstick on his collar.>



Word by Word Definitions

smellplay
  1. :  to perceive the odor or scent of through stimuli affecting the olfactory nerves :  get the odor or scent of with the nose

    :  to detect or become aware of as if by the sense of smell

    :  to emit the odor of

  1. :  the property of a thing that affects the olfactory organs :  odor

    :  the process, function, or power of smelling

    :  the sense concerned with the perception of odor

  1. :  any of numerous rodents (Rattus and related genera) differing from the related mice especially by considerably larger size

    :  any of various similar rodents

    :  a contemptible person: as

  1. :  to catch or hunt rats

    :  to work as a scab

    :  to give (hair) the effect of greater quantity (as by use of a rat)


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up smell a rat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to lessen in amount, effect, or force

Get Word of the Day daily email!