Definition of olfactory
: of or relating to the sense of smell olfactory receptors olfactory sensations
olfactorilyplay \äl-ˈfak-t(ə-)rə-lē, ōl-\ adverb
olfactory was our Word of the Day on 09/17/2014. Hear the podcast!
Recent Examples of olfactory from the Web
During the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, one young Laotian mother attended a fussy baby whose olfactory message from her diaper was unmistakably urgent.
Grinnell Morris leads the uneven cast as Jack Sutree, head of olfactory research in the fictional City University’s biomedical department.
People who are born blind seem to develop extraordinary auditory, tactile, and olfactory sensitivities.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'olfactory'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Olfactory derives from the past participle of the Latin olfacere, which means "to smell" and which was formed from the verb olēre (also "to smell") and facere ("to do"). Olfactory is a word that often appears in scientific contexts (as in "olfactory nerves," the nerves that pass from the nose to the brain and contain the receptors that make smelling possible), but it has occasionally branched out into less specialized contexts. The pleasant smell of spring flowers, for example, might be considered an "olfactory delight." A related word, olfaction, is a noun referring to the sense of smell or the act or process of smelling.
OLFACTORY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of olfactory for English Language Learners
: of, relating to, or connected with the sense of smell
OLFACTORY Defined for Kids
Definition of olfactory for Students
: of or relating to smelling or the sense of smell olfactory nerves
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