\ 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 There’s no better way to make your home more inviting than with through scent. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "30 awesome gifts under $30 for everyone on your list," 20 Oct. 2020 Discover the candles, their scent profiles, and burn time info ahead. Olivia Harrison,, "Ikea Just Announced An Affordable Collaboration With This Luxury Candle Brand," 18 Oct. 2020 These lures are usually made from a soft plastic or rubber and can be enhanced with special scent sprays. Michael Pollick,, "The best fishing lure set," 17 Oct. 2020 The dogs range in age from 12 to 18 months and have never been trained in scent detection. Iris Katz,, "Pet Wise: Can the amazing canine nose detect coronavirus? Doggone right it can.," 17 Oct. 2020 And while some fall scents really come from leaves decomposing in soil, the katsura’s scent is all it’s own. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, "Why autumn air smells so delicious and sweet," 13 Oct. 2020 Try the Buff face and body scrub ($20), which has a lovely minty scent and leaves you with fresh, soft skin. Fiona Tapp, CNN Underscored, "Shop this exclusive line of handcrafted Canadian artisan products at Simons," 13 Oct. 2020 To determine where to set up his camera trap, Gorshkov scoured the Land of the Leopard National Park, in the Russian Far East, for signs of tigers, studying trees for scent markings, tiger hairs, urine, or scratch marks. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "See the best wildlife photos of 2020," 13 Oct. 2020 Isaac tries to, pun-intended, throw Emile off Morgan's scent and sends him on his way, but Emile argues his way inside to find only Morgan's bloody blanket. Nick Romano,, "Fear the Walking Dead premiere recap: Morgan's dead. Long live Morgan.," 12 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 McDonald’s just announced a six-candle collection, each scented like one of the components of a Quarter Pounder with cheese, or as it’s called in France, a Royale with Cheese. Michelle Santiago Cortés,, "McDonald’s Took It Too Far With These Quarter Pounder Candles," 21 Feb. 2020 This concoction is layered with almonds scented with orange blossom water and baked into a buttery phyllo shell, then dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Lauren Saria, azcentral, "Here's where to find our 14 favorite pies for Pi Day in metro Phoenix," 9 Mar. 2020 These are scented with lavender essential oil and are intended to be moisturizing as well as disinfecting. Popular Science, "Innovative hand sanitizers to help you ward off sickness," 28 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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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

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Oct. 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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