\ 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

aroma, attar (also otto), balm, bouquet, fragrance, fragrancy, incense, perfume, redolence, spice

Synonyms: Verb

incense, odorize, perfume

Antonyms: Noun

fetor, malodor, reek, stench, stink

Antonyms: Verb

stink up

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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


The flower has a wonderful scent. The dogs followed the fox's scent. The prisoner escaped because the dogs lost his scent.


The dog scented a rabbit. She scented the air with perfume.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The deodorant will be called Here+Now, reports People — a nod to Bieber's openness on mental health and a reminder to be mindful of the current moment — the Biebs worked on the package’s design and scent. Meagan Fredette, Teen Vogue, "Justin Bieber Is Making His Own Deodorant With Schmidt’s Naturals," 21 May 2019 Previous scents have included honeysuckle, bergamot, pear, and other sweet-woodsy combos. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Justin Bieber Is Dropping a Natural Deodorant With Schmidt’s Naturals," 21 May 2019 The molecules that create scent are produced by enzymes within the cells of a plant, and those enzymes are coded into the plant’s DNA. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "You Can Now Smell a Flower That Went Extinct a Century Ago," 16 Apr. 2019 Metropolitan Transportation Authority police helped with the search and police dogs sniffed the ground for the robber's scent while helicopters searched from the air. Christine Dempsey,, "'Beefcake Bandit' Sentenced To More Than 7 Years For Greenwich And N.Y. Robberies," 6 June 2018 ChemSIGMA, however, will identify and locate scent-evidence of chemical ingredients, called precursors, which must be combined to make chemical weapons or explosives. Dan Dubno, Popular Mechanics, "How We'll Stop Chemical Attacks," 28 Apr. 2019 The model then visited Apotheke’s factory in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood to sample scents and pick special packaging for the project. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Jacquelyn Jablonski and Autism Tomorrow Toast a Charitable Collaboration With Apotheke," 16 Apr. 2019 The custom scent gift was originally Foxx's idea, Phillips said. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx Reportedly Made Custom Perfumes for Each Other," 17 Nov. 2018 The Hermione Candle in the clever scent combination of cedar and thyme. Katelyn Chef, Teen Vogue, "5 Harry Potter Holiday Candles," 9 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There are shoes everywhere, boots and stilettos and platforms in all shades of nude (this season’s theme); plus neon lights and scented votives to give everything a soft fluorescence. Alex Frank, Vogue, "Kendall Jenner On Loving Ugly Sneakers, Hating Boho Style, and the Fashion Secrets She Learned From Her Mom," 13 Feb. 2019 The rest of us generally need a little more help, usually in the form of prescription pharmaceuticals, 1-2 miniature bottles of cheap chardonnay, or a swath of thick cashmere and something lavender scented. Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Travel Kits that Will Actually Help You Sleep on a Plane," 22 Mar. 2018 The seafoam green body oil gives skin a dewy radiance and is lightly scented with jasmine sambac from India and French sea kelp. Shannon Barbour, The Cut, "These Mermaid-Inspired Products Want to Be a Part of Your World," 11 June 2018 Known as the Alchemist’s Garden, Gucci’s striking new 15-piece collection includes perfumed oils, eaux de parfum, and one XXL scented candle—all of which made their debut yesterday exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "Meet the Striking New Gucci Perfumes Plucked From Alessandro Michele’s Madcap Mind," 8 Jan. 2019 Through large windows with no shutters, a breeze scented with lavender and rosemary rushes over the grapes, an ancient process of drying known as appassimento that concentrates the fruit as moisture dissipates. Christopher Ross, WSJ, "The Hidden Valley in the Italian Alps Where Winemakers Are Working Against Nature," 15 Feb. 2019 Two women try professional eyebrow threading Depilatory Creams: Start With a Patch Test Gone are the days when depilatory creams were pungently scented — there are lots of new ones that are gentle and fragrance-free. Sam Escobar, Good Housekeeping, "8 Gentle and Effective Ways to Remove Facial Hair," 17 Aug. 2018 On the surrounding grounds, cornflowers, foxglove and lily of the valley will be in full force this month, and the air, even in smoggy London, will be scented with apple blossom. Joanna Pocock,, "Romance is in the air at London's green spaces," 13 May 2018 Philyra added these to a database and compared them to additional customer data provided by Symrise, like which scents were best-sellers and where, who was buying them, and which age demographic prefers which scents the most. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Is AI the future of perfume? IBM is betting on it.," 24 Oct. 2018

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

26 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scent

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on scent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


a strong desire or propensity

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