\ˈō-dər \

Definition of odor 

1a : a quality of something that stimulates the olfactory organ : scent

b : a sensation resulting from adequate stimulation of the olfactory organ : smell

2a : a characteristic or predominant quality : flavor the odor of sanctity

b : repute, estimation in bad odor

3 archaic : something that emits a sweet or pleasing scent : perfume

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Other Words from odor

odored \ ˈō-​dərd \ adjective
odorless \ ˈō-​dər-​ləs \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for odor

smell, scent, odor, aroma mean the quality that makes a thing perceptible to the olfactory sense. smell implies solely the sensation without suggestion of quality or character. an odd smell permeated the room scent applies to the characteristic smell given off by a substance, an animal, or a plant. the scent of lilacs odor may imply a stronger or more readily distinguished scent or it may be equivalent to smell. a cheese with a strong odor aroma suggests a somewhat penetrating usually pleasant odor. the aroma of freshly ground coffee

Examples of odor in a Sentence

The cheese has a strong odor. This deodorant prevents bad odor from occurring.

Recent Examples on the Web

Brendan Morton, Pat Sammons and Win Reid moved into the Pine Grove Pointe Drive home in Roswell this week and noticed a moldy odor coming from the washing machine, according to Channel 2 Action News. Fleming Smith, ajc, "JUST IN: Gas leak in dryer caused Roswell home explosion, officials say," 14 June 2018 Police noticed an odor of alcohol coming from her breath and she was also injured while falling. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, "Blotter: Woman charged with DUI in Deerfield after hit-and-run crash," 25 May 2018 The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said Monday that a boating team searching the Eel River noticed the fuel odor about half a mile (1 kilometer) downstream from where the crash was reported. Fox News, "The Latest: Last missing California family member found dead," 16 Apr. 2018 And the laundry has been cleansed of sweat, mold, bacteria and other potential odor-causing substances and dries quickly in a breeze, removing the moisture on which such smells feed. C. Claiborne Ray, New York Times, "Hanging Out the Wash in the Fresh, Clean Air," 30 Mar. 2018 After being stopped, officers noticed the strong odor of alcohol, unsteadiness and red, glossy eyes. Brian Rogers, Houston Chronicle, "Suspected drunk driver threatens to strip and strangle Houston police officer," 20 Feb. 2018 Engineers in China have developed a titanium dioxide coating that helps cotton shed stains and eliminate odor-producing bacteria. Pm Editors, Popular Mechanics, "110 Predictions For the Next 110 Years," 10 Dec. 2012 Police smelled a strong odor of alcohol and during a search of the vehicle, recovered an open bottle. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, "Police: Man charged with felony DUI in Deerfield," 22 June 2018 Reports of a strong odor led police to the trash bin at 2200 West Cove Avenue, which is near Cave Creek Park, police spokesman Sgt. Chris Mccrory, azcentral, "Phoenix police suspect homicide after body found in dumpster," 30 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'odor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of odor

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for odor

Middle English odour, from Anglo-French odur, from Latin odor; akin to Latin olēre to smell, Greek ozein to smell, osmē smell, odor

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Statistics for odor

Last Updated

1 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for odor

The first known use of odor was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for odor



English Language Learners Definition of odor

: a particular smell


\ˈō-dər \

Kids Definition of odor

: a particular smell The odor of flowers filled my room. … the air was … thick with the smell of body odor.— Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising

Other Words from odor

odorless \ ˈō-​dər-​ləs \ adjective


variants: or chiefly British odour \ ˈōd-​ər \

Medical Definition of odor 

1 : a quality of something that stimulates the olfactory organ : smell

2 : a sensation resulting from adequate chemical stimulation of the olfactory organ a disagreeable odor

Other Words from odor

odored or chiefly British odoured adjective
odorless or chiefly British odourless adjective

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Comments on odor

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


to express warning or disapproval

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