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 The dogs sniffed samples of human sweat in an olfaction cone. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 3 June 2022 The scientists determined that the missing genes were related to olfaction, or the rat's sense of smell, and the animal's immune functions. NBC News, 9 Mar. 2022 The results suggest some regions of the brain connected to the olfaction system may shrink slightly in the wake of an infection, although the effect is minor and its consequences are unclear. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 9 Mar. 2022 After all, the study of avian olfaction is not straightforward. Amy Brady, Scientific American, 23 Feb. 2022 As a result, the neurons are forced to avert their attention from olfaction, resulting in a dramatic loss of production for the components needed for smell, culminating in anosmia. Robin Lloyd, Scientific American, 7 Feb. 2022 Excited by the finding, Prof. Sobel thinks this is just the beginning of investigating olfaction as a driver of human aggression. Susan Pinker, WSJ, 20 Jan. 2022 Until the end of the twentieth century, the problem for any theorist of olfaction was that no one had really been able to study the olfactory receptors, or even prove their existence. Scott Sayare, Harper's Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 Such light evolutionary constraints at the receptor level probably impose substantial selective pressure downstream on the neural circuits for olfaction: Nervous systems need good mechanisms for decoding the messy patterns of receptor activity. Jordana Cepelewicz, Wired, 27 June 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of olfaction

circa 1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for olfaction

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The first known use of olfaction was circa 1833

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Dictionary Entries Near olfaction

oleyl alcohol



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Statistics for olfaction

Last Updated

11 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Olfaction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/olfaction. Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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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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