\ 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 Regarding the odor, the driver admitted to drinking. John Benson, cleveland, "‘Alcohol Flush Support’ pills don’t help drunk driver escape arrest: North Royalton Police Blotter," 27 May 2020 His eyes were painfully green as the grief twisted his face and the trees near the road gave off a sugary odor and tenderness formed in the quiet. David Means, The New Yorker, "Two Nurses, Smoking," 25 May 2020 This tough-to-clean area can harbor unseen food scraps, grease, mold, and bacteria, creating an unpleasant odor that can be difficult to eliminate. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Should You Try that Viral Garbage Disposal Hack? A Plumbing Expert Weighs In," 22 May 2020 De-scenting is a surgery that removes some of the glands that produce odor. Texas A&m University, Houston Chronicle, "PET TALK: Down to business: Ferrets as pets," 16 May 2020 Together, this double-filtration system can remove small and large particles like germs and dust from the air as well as odors from pets, smoking, and cooking. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "Air Quality Sensor Will Alert Your Household to Pollution—and Fix The Issue," 14 May 2020 The odor-free bags are compact and can be washed and reused. Outdoor Life, "The best ways to get your game from the field to your freezer," 14 May 2020 Twice a day, Skinner photographed the snakes’ groupings, removed the reptiles, cleaned the enclosure to erase any odors, and put the snakes back in different positions. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Garter snakes are surprisingly social, forming ‘friendships’ with fellow serpents," 4 May 2020 Like many Allbirds shoes, they’re made with merino wool and have a castor bean insole to cushion your foot and minimize odor (they're meant to be worn sans socks). Madison Flager, Condé Nast Traveler, "9 Best Slippers for Women, Since That's All We're Wearing These Days," 4 May 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

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Odor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odor. Accessed 2 Jun. 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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