\ 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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Vision depends on the spatial distance between the human subject and the object of perception, but scent and sound seem to overcome such an epistemological gap. The New Yorker, "The Mail," 22 Feb. 2021 Moonflowers, with their large, pure white petals, pleasant scent, and heart-shape leaves, are one of my favorite vining plants. Derek Carwood, Better Homes & Gardens, "Moonflower Vine Is the Most Magical Night-Blooming Plant You Can Grow," 22 Feb. 2021 Imagine the clear blue waters of Cabo, the scent of your mother's kitchen, or the miles of green grass covering a sunny mountainside, all channeled into a vibrant coral, luminous periwinkle, or crisp aqua suitcase. Cortne Bonilla,, "Serena Williams & Away’s Unlikely Collab Gave Us Wanderlust," 28 Jan. 2021 We human hunters possess the same five senses as our fellow animal predators: sight, hearing, scent, touch, and taste. Outdoor Life, "Married to the Game: Becoming a Great Hunter Means Living in the Moment," 17 Dec. 2020 The top notes are listed as cosmic dust and antimatter particles, the heart of the fragrance is described as starlight, the scent of Supernova, and the base notes are atmospheric vapour, and dark nebulae. Essence, "Travis Scott Teamed Up With Luxury Fragrance Brand Byredo Collection Inspired By Outer Space," 3 Dec. 2020 Polo Red by Ralph Lauren is a bestselling woodsy, spicy scent with notes of spicy red saffron, red grapefruit and deep redwood. Kiana Murden, CNN Underscored, "46 beauty products you should honestly just gift yourself," 24 Nov. 2020 The pungent scent and bright color of fresh marigold petals are meant to guide the spirits to their altars, and glasses of water are handy to quench the thirst of the dead after their long journey. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "Day of the Dead has everything to do with the afterlife, love and those colorful skulls you've seen around," 1 Nov. 2020 Music boomed from a motorcycle, as the scent of fried chicken weighted the air. Detroit Free Press, "Senior editor Nicole Avery Nichols tapped to lead education journalism nonprofit Chalkbeat," 1 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Not only did actress Kerry Washington dub the high-end candle brand one of her favorite things, but Meghan Markle also used the high-end candle brand to scent her wedding to Prince Harry. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "15 celeb-approved gifts for anyone on your list," 8 Dec. 2020 The New Cosy, then, is all about softening life’s harsh edges: Diffusers that blow delicate puffs of steam to scent our rooms. Michelle Santiago Cortés,, "Hygge Is Dead. Get To Know The New Cosy.," 26 Nov. 2020 Some even scent their clothing with crushed apples. Field & Stream, "F&S Classics: Tap’s Tips," 20 Nov. 2020 Continental breeds such as Brittanies prefer to scent the ground rather than the air and therefore are believed to be unpossessed of the full-choke noses common to English setters and pointers. Star Tribune, "There are positives as grouse season opens, but issues, too," 17 Sep. 2020 Instead of a shortbread or pie crust, the Portuguese version features a crisp and layered puff pastry crust and a blistered custard filling scented with lemon and cinnamon. Soleil Ho,, "A San Francisco restaurant critic’s new (to her) San Jose favorites," 27 Feb. 2020 The candles are scented using essential oils, and the jars are 100 percent recyclable. Popular Science, "Five candles to make your home cozier," 17 Oct. 2019 Pigeon-and-almond b'steeya precede eggplant zaalouk, harira lentil soup—as reassuring and garden-herb-scented as my grandmother's hug—and argan-oil parfait. Stephanie Rafanelli, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Oberoi Marrakech: First In," 25 Mar. 2020 Brown recommends Hale & Hush skincare products, which are gluten-, sulfate- and fragrance-free or naturally scented. oregonlive, "Hair salon closed by the coronavirus? Here’s 10 home beauty tips to help you shine," 25 Mar. 2020

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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Learn More about scent

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

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for scent



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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