\ 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

One of the many unwanted gifts that Aunt Flo brings with her every month is a funky odor that lingers downstairs. Samantha Lauriello, Health.com, "Why Does Period Blood Smell? An Ob-Gyn Explains," 7 June 2019 Klein showed signs of being under the influence, as her speech was slurred, there was a strong odor of alcohol and her eyes were glossy, the report said. Adriana Ramirez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Menomonee Falls woman accused of driving under the influence with her newborn in the backseat," 27 June 2018 The officers said there was a strong chemical odor in the room with the dead body and officers started to feel sick, Channel 2 reported. Zachary Hansen, ajc, "Body found, multiple officers hospitalized in hazmat situation in DeKalb," 12 May 2018 Silva was frail, emaciated and had a terrible odor. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Ross Butler Denied He Was Involved in an Alleged Plot to Steal a Kurt Cobain Guitar," 17 Oct. 2018 Once Tatmanwas pulled over the officer noticed a strong odor of intoxicants from his breath, according to a criminal complaint. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brookfield man charged with seventh OWI had nearly fatal blood alcohol content," 28 June 2018 Influence-peddling is an aspect of American politics that sends up a distinct odor. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "Heads should roll over the AT&T and Novartis payments to Michael Cohen's slush fund," 9 May 2018 And much of what has followed, including Mr. Comey’s book, has the distinct odor of a coverup. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "The Comey Coverup," 17 Apr. 2018 Officer Clisham smelled the distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the driver's breath and observed the driver to have red blood shot eyes and slurred speech. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police report," 12 Mar. 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, 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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Statistics for odor

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with odor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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