mal·​odor·​ous ˌmal-ˈō-də-rəs How to pronounce malodorous (audio)
: having a bad odor
a malodorous mixture of chemicals
: highly improper
malodorous practices and chicanery in high financial placesNew Republic
malodorously adverb
malodorousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for malodorous

malodorous, stinking, fetid, noisome, putrid, rank, fusty, musty mean bad-smelling.

malodorous may range from the unpleasant to the strongly offensive.

malodorous fertilizers

stinking and fetid suggest the foul or disgusting.

prisoners were held in stinking cells
the fetid odor of skunk cabbage

noisome adds a suggestion of being harmful or unwholesome as well as offensive.

a stagnant, noisome sewer

putrid implies particularly the sickening odor of decaying organic matter.

the putrid smell of rotting fish

rank suggests a strong unpleasant smell.

rank cigar smoke

fusty and musty suggest lack of fresh air and sunlight, fusty also implying prolonged uncleanliness, musty stressing the effects of dampness, mildew, or age.

a fusty attic
the musty odor of a damp cellar

Example Sentences

the cellar will need to be cleared of several malodorous piles of garbage
Recent Examples on the Web Its advanced technology helps trap malodorous molecules, neutralizing odors instead of merely masking them. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 11 Apr. 2023 Overcoming and overturning this rampant fraud before the fundraising drive ends Dec. 31 is a tall order, but those of us who see through the deep state lies can do it, sending a message to the malodorous Huppke and feeding the hungry at the same time. Eric Zorn,, 17 Dec. 2020 Holistapet Eliminate your pup's malodorous breath with HolistaPet Fresh Breath Soft Chews! Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 29 Jan. 2023 Ingesting beverages or foods with high water and/or fat content such as milk may help reduce the malodorous odor in breath after garlic ingestion and mask the garlic flavor during eating. Ncbi Rofl, Discover Magazine, 21 Sep. 2011 Ten judges, able to discriminate and rank malodorous chemical compounds, were trained as a formal sensory panel by an expert in sensory evaluation techniques. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 27 June 2014 The chemical is called putrescine (1,4 diaminobutane), a malodorous organic compound within the polyamine family—a group of molecules already known to play a crucial role in important functions like cell division. Patrick Morgan, Discover Magazine, 14 Mar. 2011 If Musk continues down this road, Twitter won’t be a beacon of free speech, but a miasmic, malodorous swamp. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec. 2022 There is the snake making its way through a bit of filthy water, then two snakes in a blue kiddie pool (one appearing somewhat compromised), then a limply malodorous snake being held by a girl in the plein air of concrete rubble. Joy Williams, The New Yorker, 5 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'malodorous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1850, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of malodorous was in 1850

Dictionary Entries Near malodorous

Cite this Entry

“Malodorous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


mal·​odor·​ous (ˈ)mal-ˈōd-ə-rəs How to pronounce malodorous (audio)
: having a bad smell
malodorously adverb
malodorousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on malodorous

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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