\ ˈsent How to pronounce scent (audio) \

Definition of scent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : effluvia from a substance that affect the sense of smell: such as
a : an odor left by an animal on a surface passed over
b : a characteristic or particular odor especially : one that is agreeable
2a : power of smelling : sense of smell a keen scent
b : power of detection : nose a scent for heresy
3 : a course of pursuit or discovery throw one off the scent
4 : inkling, intimation a scent of trouble
6 : bits of paper dropped in the game of hare and hounds
7 : a mixture prepared for use as a lure in hunting or fishing


scented; scenting; scents

Definition of scent (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to perceive by the olfactory organs : smell
b : to get or have an inkling of scent trouble
2 : to imbue or fill with odor scented the air with perfume

intransitive verb

1 : to yield an odor of some specified kind this scents of sulfur also : to bear indication or suggestions
2 : to use the nose in seeking or tracking prey

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Other Words from scent


scentless \ ˈsent-​ləs How to pronounce scentless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for scent

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for scent


fragrance, perfume, scent, redolence mean a sweet or pleasant odor. fragrance suggests the odors of flowers or other growing things. the fragrance of pine perfume may suggest a stronger or heavier odor. the perfume of lilacs scent is very close to perfume but of wider application because more neutral in connotation. scent-free soaps redolence implies a mixture of fragrant or pungent odors. the redolence of a forest after a rain

smell, scent, odor, aroma mean the quality that makes a thing perceptible to the olfactory sense. smell implies solely the sensation without suggestion of quality or character. an odd smell permeated the room scent applies to the characteristic smell given off by a substance, an animal, or a plant. the scent of lilacs odor may imply a stronger or more readily distinguished scent or it may be equivalent to smell. a cheese with a strong odor aroma suggests a somewhat penetrating usually pleasant odor. the aroma of freshly ground coffee

Examples of scent in a Sentence

Noun The flower has a wonderful scent. The dogs followed the fox's scent. The prisoner escaped because the dogs lost his scent. Verb The dog scented a rabbit. She scented the air with perfume.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The dog tracked the scent of the robbers west on Storer, and north on West 46th Street, according to police reports. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "Armed duo robs man who recently won lottery during home invasion in Cleveland," 31 Jan. 2020 More precisely, the scent of the barbecue cooking in the parking lots. James Freeman, WSJ, "Goodell Unlikely to Face Impeachment over Tailgating Limits," 31 Jan. 2020 Kentucky State Troopers were able to detect the scent of alcohol on both joyriders, according to the arrest citation from WBKO-TV 13. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, "2 GM engineers arrested after 100-mph Kentucky joyride in new Corvettes," 12 Jan. 2020 After launching the first dual fragrances ever for the iconic brand this fall, Tiffany & Love for Her and Him, Allure sat down with the designer to talk about podcasts, big wave surfing, and how to keep the scent of love surprising. Cotton Codinha, Allure, "Tiffany & Co Designer Reed Krakoff on What Love Smells Like," 13 Dec. 2019 Bear was able to smell the scent of live koalas in the Ngunya Jargoon, an Indigenous Protected Area where 20-40 koalas lived before the wildfire destroyed 85% of its 1,000 hectares, according to a recent Facebook post by IFAW. Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN, "Koala-sniffing dogs are on a mission to save animals from Australia's bushfires," 19 Nov. 2019 Bins full of bright pastels reminiscent of a bubble tea shop wafted scents of coconut cream pie, brown sugar, bread, and oregano. Wired, "The Tao of Goo: Lessons From a Slime Workshop," 12 Nov. 2019 From her not liking the placement of the box anymore because suddenly there's a lack of privacy to not liking the depth of the litter, the scent of the litter or the frequency for which the litter is cleaned. Cathy M. Rosenthal,, "Pet World: Service dogs have a job to do, so don’t distract them," 25 Oct. 2019 Ah, crisp, colorful leaves, the scent of pumpkin and the bustling energy of kids going back to school. Niki Mcgloster, Essence, "The Hottest Way To Slay Fall Fashion," 9 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Prepared on the stove top or in the oven, braised dishes can warm and scent the kitchen for hours. Washington Post, "Put the kettle on: Tea is the star of these 10 food and drink recipes," 11 Jan. 2020 The slime is premade (saving some mess) and scented like real peanut butter and grape jelly. Taylor Telford, Anchorage Daily News, "Hot toys 2019: Star Wars, Hatchimals, Owleez and ‘Frozen’ offerings top holiday wish lists," 25 Nov. 2019 The same rules apply for the skin on your body — even using laundry detergent that is heavily scented or contains dye can cause a reaction, so Rabach recommends choosing detergents that are formulated specifically for sensitive skin. Rebecca Dancer, Allure, "Everything You Need to Know for Identifying and Treating Sensitive Skin," 8 Dec. 2019 The bags also have heavy-duty drawstrings and are scented with Febreze to keep odors at bay. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "21 things on Amazon that will keep your home clean during winter," 25 Oct. 2019 Dunkin' is teaming with home-fragrance company Homesick to offer limited-edition candles scented like the restaurant chain's original coffee and peppermint mocha coffee blends, the companies announced Monday. Rachel Layne, CBS News, "Can't make it to Dunkin'? Light a candle instead," 25 Nov. 2019 Some studios also support their classes by lighting CBD candles and scenting the place with CBD oils, maximizing the compound’s capabilities and submerging people in the relaxing experience. Maria Loreto,, "What is CBD yoga and does it work?," 5 Dec. 2019 Surprisingly, the pond garden can be scented, with pitcher plants and waterlilies, particularly tropical varieties. Washington Post, "Gardens have largely lost their fragrance. Here’s how we can bring it back.," 4 Dec. 2019 They are scented using only 100 percent pure essential oils. Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle, "ICYMI: Have yourself a Katy little Christmas: a guide to Katy gift giving," 27 Nov. 2019

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for scent


Middle English sent, from Anglo-French sente, from sentir


Middle English senten, from Anglo-French sentir to feel, smell, from Latin sentire to perceive, feel — more at sense

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Time Traveler for scent

Time Traveler

The first known use of scent was in the 15th century

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Statistics for scent

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for scent


How to pronounce scent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of scent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a pleasant smell that is produced by something
: a smell that is left by an animal or person and that can be sensed and followed by some animals (such as dogs)
: a slight indication of something that is going to happen or that might happen



English Language Learners Definition of scent (Entry 2 of 2)

: to become aware of (something) by smell
: to give (something) a pleasing smell


\ ˈsent How to pronounce scent (audio) \

Kids Definition of scent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an odor that is given off by someone or something … a little wind … brought a fresh scent of newly turned earth with it.— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
2 : power or sense of smell The dog has a keen scent.
3 : a course followed in search or pursuit of something The reporter was on the scent of a story.


scented; scenting

Kids Definition of scent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to become aware of or follow through the sense of smell The dog scented a rabbit.
2 : to get a hint of Aunt Petunia obviously scented danger, too …— J. K. Rowling, Sorcerer's Stone
3 : to fill with an odor : perfume Roses scent the air.

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More from Merriam-Webster on scent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scent

Spanish Central: Translation of scent

Nglish: Translation of scent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scent for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about scent

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