Definition of olfactory
- olfactory receptors
- olfactory sensations
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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.
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.
: of, relating to, or connected with the sense of smell
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subject to rapid or unexpected change
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