\ 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

Other Words from scent


scentless \ ˈsent-​ləs How to pronounce scent (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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This earthy and woodsy scent will complement his look whether he's headed to the office or the outdoors for some rest and relaxation. Annie O’sullivan, Good Housekeeping, 15 Apr. 2022 Henry Rose perfumes, like this popular scent, use a blend of synthetic and plant-based oils, and are available in full-size and travel-friendly versions. Olivia Fleming & Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, 13 Apr. 2022 This heavy-duty scent-free set includes one fine-mist trigger spray for your body and one for clothing. Rachel Ng, Outside Online, 14 Aug. 2021 Often marketed as a good option for people with acne-prone skin, this scent-free oil acts as an emollient that helps to smooth and moisturize. Angela Law, Allure, 10 July 2021 In between deafening helicopter sounds, Alex Israel, the man responsible for creating the scent packaging, stood on stage atop the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures with a clear view of the Hollywood sign. ELLE, 22 Apr. 2022 As its moniker suggests, the eponymous scent highlights the perfumery’s rarest raw ingredient: vanilla bean. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 22 Apr. 2022 This aerosol scent bomb is a one-shot air-freshening regimen. Duncan Brady, Car and Driver, 20 Apr. 2022 The apple cider vinegar scent leaves hair smelling fresh, too., 20 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For a few precious weeks, its regal petals scent the surrounding area with a lemony fragrance., 6 May 2022 This hand-poured, clean-burning soy candle will scent your apartment for up to 60 hours. Bon Appétit, 26 Apr. 2022 The cluster of pines that scent my favorite picnic spot. Shawnté Salabert, Outside Online, 22 Apr. 2022 Anyone who has experienced a rainy day in the desert knows about that delicate fragrance that rises to scent the shifting winds. San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Dec. 2021 But its main purpose is to scent your space for up to eight cordless hours. Nykia Spradley, Allure, 29 Nov. 2021 At the moment, L’Oreal is benefitting from a boom in fragrances, to scent the return to real life. David Meyer, Fortune, 4 Nov. 2021 Meanwhile, a backlash is stirring among rural Republican politicians who scent a new battleground in the partisan culture wars. Mike Dorning, Fortune, 16 May 2021 Lavender also can be used to scent your bath or flavor sugar, cakes, cookies, custards and assorted desserts. Connie Nelson, Star Tribune, 24 Mar. 2021 See More

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.

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near scent



scent bag

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Scent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for scent


\ 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, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
3 : to fill with an odor : perfume Roses scent the air.

More from Merriam-Webster on scent

Nglish: Translation of scent for Spanish Speakers

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


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