\ 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 Among the objects on display are a fecal transplant kit, a tank filled with zebrafish, a work that simulates the smell of extinct plants, and a perfumed sculpture suggestive of the scent of breast milk. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "This London Gallery Is Working to Be One of the World’s Most Accessible Museums," 11 Sep. 2019 When someone who once smelled like home suddenly repulses you with his lack of a feces scent? Cirocco Dunlap, The New Yorker, "The Metamorphosis: Millennial Edition," 9 Sep. 2019 ScentsAbility’s handcrafted soy blend wax candles feature a variety of scents. Rick Menning,, "Candle creations light the way to empowerment for adults with disabilities," 22 Aug. 2019 Most dogs enjoy the strong scent of pig ears, but these chews are frequently contaminated with bacteria like Salmonella, which can be dangerous for both dogs and people who come into contact with the chews. Texas A&m University, Houston Chronicle, "Pet Talk: How to ‘chews’ the best dog chew toys," 9 Sep. 2019 Bumblebees floated above the shrubs and the scent of incense hung in the air near one of San Antonio’s centuries-old Spanish colonial missions. Laura Garcia,, "San Antonio Archbishop takes on climate change, urges protection for city’s historic missions," 8 Sep. 2019 The bear seemed to have been attracted to the scent of refuse. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Bear Escapes House With a Dramatic Exit That Would Make the Kool-Aid Man Proud," 12 Aug. 2019 Here, friendly hugs come, at most, with a faint scent of shampoo. Flora Tsapovsky,, "Why does San Francisco turn up its nose at perfume?," 10 July 2019 The collection includes four $12 Body Washes: Dignity (a creamy blend of charcoal and cotton blossom), Hope (a soothing aloe and avocado gel cleanser), Joy (with a citrus and honeysuckle scent), and Strength (a ginger and currant blend). Marci Robin, Allure, "Right to Shower Is the New Brand Ensuring Homeless People Have Access to Hygiene Services," 20 Apr. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The air is scented with something floral, rather than — as is too often the case — something fecal. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Gotta go: inside downtown San Diego’s public bathrooms," 6 Oct. 2019 What's more: It's scented with pumpkin spice and smells exactly like your classic PSL. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "These Pennywise Bath Bombs Are the Spooky New Bathtime Accessory to Try Ahead of Halloween," 6 Oct. 2019 The metallics are scented with teakwood and pheromones with the idea that these will make people feel adventurous, daring, confident and empowered. Lisa Kanarek, New York Times, "‘Slop It On!’: Unicorn Spit Beguiles the Etsy Crowd," 6 Oct. 2019 But this year, the warm, nutmeg scented sugar bomb wasn't the only fall offering to come from the coffee company. Lauren Saria, azcentral, "Here's what the new Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew really tastes like," 27 Aug. 2019 Anit Hora, 39, the founder of M.S Skincare, a vegan skin care line made in Brooklyn, sprays lavender mist around her office when things get hectic, and has hung dried bunches in her bathroom, pressing them to scent her shower. Steven Kurutz, New York Times, "Why Does Everything Smell, So Peacefully, of Lavender?," 14 Sep. 2019 But Mr Putin’s foes will have scented a new vulnerability in the ruling party. The Economist, "Local elections embarrass the Kremlin," 14 Sep. 2019 Curl Queen products include Curl Definition Gelee ($22), Royal Oil ($36), Beyond Moisture ($24) and Curl Revitalize ($19), scented with fig, blood orange and grapefruit essential oils. Lindsay Weinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Alicia Keys' Hairstylist Nai'vasha Johnson Launches Haircare Brand Curl Queen," 7 Sep. 2019 Shortly after that, Bath & Body Works debuted its Vampire Blood soaps and Ghoul Friend scented candles, and in early August, Spirit Halloween’s 1,300 or so pop-ups began haunting the corpses of dead stores across the country. Hilary George-parkin, Vox, "Why is Halloween starting in the summer?," 16 Aug. 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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Statistics for scent

Last Updated

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for scent

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

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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

Comments on scent

What made you want to look up scent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to spread as a report or rumor

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