\ ˈō-dər How to pronounce odor (audio) \

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 How to pronounce odored (audio) \ adjective
odorless \ ˈō-​dər-​ləs How to pronounce odorless (audio) \ 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 Just a few drops from each container react with each other to kill bacteria and odor in water in approximately 15 minutes. Matt Haines, CNN Underscored, "Why backcountry camping could be the perfect vacation this year," 9 July 2020 The officer reportedly smelled the odor of pot coming from inside the car during the stop. Brian Lisik, cleveland, "Driver issued numerous citations following traffic stop: Hinckley Township Police Blotter," 28 June 2020 Police could smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from the vehicle. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Hartland woman fled from police after getting pulled over for speeding and driving drunk, complaint says," 11 July 2020 Upon initiating a traffic stop, and while approaching the vehicle the officer could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Villages Police Department weekly report," 22 June 2020 When asked about the odor, the driver admitted there may be some inside of the Dodge. John Benson, cleveland, "After hitting a tree, underage drunk driver leaves behind bumper with license plate: Broadview Heights Police Blotter," 17 June 2020 Officers immediately smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from the motorist’s breath. cleveland, "Motorist admits to consuming at least 13 drinks: Olmsted Township Police Blotter," 3 July 2020 Gas billowed out and the sharp odor hit her nostrils. oregonlive, "South Salem High’s Eddy Binford-Ross covers protests like a pro: 2020 senior portraits," 30 June 2020 So say goodbye to the days of covering your home with an unnatural, heavy odor. Jorie Nicole Mcdonald, Southern Living, "Smelly Odors Are No Match For This DIY Air Freshener," 29 June 2020

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, borrowed from Anglo-French odur, borrowed from Latin odor (early Latin odōs), going back to *od-os-, s-stem derivative of a verbal base *od- (whence Latin oleō, olēre, also olō, olere "to give off a smell, smell (of)," from *odere), going back to Indo-European *h3ed-, whence Greek ózein "to smell, give off an odor," Armenian hot "smell, odor" (probably also an s-stem), Lithuanian úodžiu, úosti "to smell, sniff"

Note: The length in the Baltic form is attributed to Winter's Law, which is believed to lengthen vowels before an original voiced, unaspirated stop in Baltic and Slavic in certain environments.

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Time Traveler for odor

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for odor

Last Updated

4 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Odor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odor. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for odor


How to pronounce odor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of odor

: a particular smell


\ ˈō-dər How to pronounce odor (audio) \

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 How to pronounce odour (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on odor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for odor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with odor

Spanish Central: Translation of odor

Nglish: Translation of odor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of odor for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about odor

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