ol·​fac·​tion | \ äl-ˈfak-shən How to pronounce olfaction (audio) , ōl- \

Definition of olfaction

1 : the sense of smell
2 : the act or process of smelling

Examples of olfaction in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There were those — about three-quarters of Covid patients, Reed says — who recovered their olfaction fairly quickly, from a few weeks to a couple of months after losing it. New York Times, "What Can Covid-19 Teach Us About the Mysteries of Smell?," 28 Jan. 2021 Fortunately, Dávalos’ former Ph.D. student Laurel Yohe is a leading researcher in bat olfaction. Eleanor Cummins, Science, "Bats, museums, and viruses collide in this scientific love story," 4 Dec. 2020 In fact, in a recent scientific journal article, Horowitz makes plain that olfaction is too rarely accounted for in canine cognition studies and is a significant factor that needs to be accorded much greater priority. Daniel Dorsa, Smithsonian Magazine, "The New Science of Our Ancient Bond With Dogs," 17 Nov. 2020 The answer, at least in the context of olfaction, has a humanistic ring to it: an experience is a matter of timing and the sum of many small particulars. Jason Castro, Scientific American, "Cracking the Neural Code with Phantom Smells," 11 Aug. 2020 The gift of olfaction is one of the joys of life, Holbrook says. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 7 Apr. 2020 The scientific name for this process is retro nasal olfaction, where the odors flow from the back of your mouth up through your nasal pharynx and into your nasal cavity. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Loss of smell from coronavirus: How to test your sense," 3 Apr. 2020 While the insects can be used to study functions such as navigation and olfaction, animals such as rodents or primates possess more behaviors that model our own. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, "Largest Brain Wiring Diagram to Date Is Published," 22 Jan. 2020 But that kind of distance doesn’t apply to olfaction. Quanta Magazine, "New AI Strategy Mimics How Brains Learn to Smell," 18 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'olfaction.' 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 olfaction

circa 1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for olfaction

Time Traveler

The first known use of olfaction was circa 1833

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Statistics for olfaction

Last Updated

11 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Olfaction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/olfaction. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for olfaction


ol·​fac·​tion | \ äl-ˈfak-shən How to pronounce olfaction (audio) , ōl- How to pronounce olfaction (audio) \

Medical Definition of olfaction

1 : the sense of smell
2 : the act or process of smelling

More from Merriam-Webster on olfaction

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about olfaction

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