odor·​ous ˈō-də-rəs How to pronounce odorous (audio)
: having an odor: such as
odorously adverb
odorousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for odorous

odorous, fragrant, redolent, aromatic mean emitting and diffusing scent.

odorous applies to whatever has a strong distinctive smell whether pleasant or unpleasant.

odorous cheeses should be tightly wrapped

fragrant applies to things (such as flowers or spices) with sweet or agreeable odors.

a fragrant rose

redolent applies usually to a place or thing impregnated with odors.

the kitchen was redolent of garlic and tomatoes

aromatic applies to things emitting pungent often fresh odors.

an aromatic blend of tobaccos

Examples of odorous in a Sentence

Odorous cheeses need to be tightly wrapped.
Recent Examples on the Web Politicians helping their weakest opponent — while odorous — makes strategic sense in California. George Skelton, The Mercury News, 21 Feb. 2024 Contaminated water has seeped out of Chiquita Canyon Landfill in Castaic, forming streams of odorous waste and fumes. Tony Briscoe, Los Angeles Times, 30 Jan. 2024 The odorous orca had symmetrical saddle patches with a distinctive downward angle. Emily Anthes, New York Times, 26 Dec. 2023 The intense heat has also melted portions of a gas collection system, which consists of long polyvinyl chloride pipes that vacuum out methane and odorous sulfur gases. Tony Briscoe, Los Angeles Times, 21 Dec. 2023 The number and type of microbes in your gut may affect gas symptoms, including how odorous your farts are. Karen Pallarito, Health, 4 Aug. 2023 Unlike sights and sounds, smells are complex, made up of hundreds of different odorous molecules. April Reese, Discover Magazine, 20 Mar. 2014 And the very wet wipes were unpleasant to touch, leaving an odorous residue on fingers, and a shimmery gloss on our skin. Samson McDougall, Health, 17 July 2023 His invention used a system of pipes attached to a circular mechanism carrying vials of odorous liquid. IEEE Spectrum, 19 May 2023

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of odorous was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near odorous

Cite this Entry

“Odorous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odorous. Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


odor·​ous ˈōd-ə-rəs How to pronounce odorous (audio)
: having or giving off an odor

Medical Definition


odor·​ous ˈōd-ə-rəs How to pronounce odorous (audio)
: having an odor: as
: having a sweet or pleasant odor
: having a bad odor

More from Merriam-Webster on odorous

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