odor·​ant ˈō-də-rənt How to pronounce odorant (audio)
: an odorous substance
especially : one added to a dangerous odorless substance to warn of its presence

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web If the odor plume is turbulent (middle), the concentration strategy can still work if the animal is close enough to the source, despite the odorant’s uneven concentration. Dana Mackenzie, Discover Magazine, 20 Mar. 2023 Natural gas is odorless, but a foul-smelling odorant called mercaptan is added to alert people to leaks. CBS News, 2 May 2023 Ants have more than 400 odorant receptors, and Zwiebel says a next step is to determine which of them must function correctly to decode an enemy's smell. Jillian Kramer, Scientific American, 1 May 2020 The theory: Since our olfactory system has a straight line of connection to our brain, these imperceptible odorants can inspire the sense of calm many associate with being near water. Brian Underwood, Women's Health, 15 Feb. 2023 Human body odor may result from the breakdown of precursors into a pungent odorant by skin bacteria…. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 25 Oct. 2010 This is probably because our odorant receptor variants are quite ancient, with the mutations predating the relatively recent divisions between Asian and European and African populations. Abigail Tucker, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Sep. 2022 Functional agonism of insect odorant receptor ion channels. Veronique Greenwood, Discover Magazine, 10 May 2011 Since research on humans hasn’t yet cleared our view up the nostrils, Mainland has begun studying the odorant molecules directly. Abigail Tucker, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Sep. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'odorant.' 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

1860, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of odorant was in 1860

Dictionary Entries Near odorant

Cite this Entry

“Odorant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odorant. Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


odor·​ant ˈōd-ə-rənt How to pronounce odorant (audio)
: an odorous substance
especially : one added to a toxic odorless substance to warn of its presence
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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