\ 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

Buy Photo The odor was so strong, Nicole Thompson could smell it on the first floor. Vinny Vella, Philly.com, "A Bucks County couple kept 31 cats in squalor. A new state law is helping prosecute them.," 7 July 2018 We Energies crews determined there was no gas leak, that possibly the odor was from motor vehicles exiting the parking garage around 5 p.m., according to a We Energies spokeswoman. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Possible gas leak at MacArthur Square garage turns out to be false but delays motorists," 16 Apr. 2018 Chronic body odor is the focus of a lawsuit filed against the city of Indianapolis. Fatima Hussein, Indianapolis Star, "Lawsuit against Indianapolis stems from worker's 'chronic body odor'," 2 Jan. 2018 Boxwoods were probably unpopular because the foliage's odor can be off-putting, but as deer populations have increased, this predator-resisting attribute has become an advantage. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "Plant These Hardy Boxwood Varieties To Avoid Boxwood Blight," 9 Mar. 2017 The seats are sprayed daily and wiped down to eliminate odors and stains. Laura J. Nelson, latimes.com, "Goodbye, upholstery. Hello, vinyl: L.A. Metro is phasing out some of its infamous fabric seats," 10 July 2018 Common olfactory hallucinations include lots of icky odors. NBC News, "Phantom smells may be a sign of trouble," 10 July 2018 Algal blooms can affect drinking water taste, odor and coloration, and even produce toxins that are difficult to remove with conventional water treatment. Emily Hopkins, Indianapolis Star, "In Hendricks County, Ronald Reagan Parkway extension pits science against growth," 9 July 2018 Spending more than $400 million to address the problem, the water works turned to ozone gas to kill the Crypto; in a happy side effect, the ozone gas also removed unwelcome odors and tastes from our drinking water. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee loves its rivers and Lake Michigan — and keeps abusing them, too," 3 July 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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Phrases Related to odor

body odor

Statistics for odor

Last Updated

20 Sep 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 deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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