\ 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

Karsenty and colleagues exposed mice to several stressors, including a mild electric shock to the foot and a whiff of fox urine, a scent that triggers an innate fear response. Emily Underwood, Science | AAAS, "Hormone secreted by bones may help us escape danger," 12 Sep. 2019 Some yoga instructors use incense or essential oils to set moods, but according to Yoga Journal, more studios are going scent-free. The Washington Post, The Know, "The 12 dos and don’ts of yoga class," 7 Sep. 2019 Some yoga instructors use incense or essential oils to set moods, but according to Yoga Journal, more studios are going scent-free. Elizabeth Chang, Washington Post, "12 etiquette tips for yoga class — and the reasons behind them," 4 Sep. 2019 Mirum isn’t the first to turn human sweat into a bottled scent. Anne Quito, Quartz at Work, "A Finnish company is giving potential recruits perfume made from employees’ sweat," 23 Aug. 2019 Seidenfaden Busck has pulled together an eclectic set of references that never jar: African textiles, Japanese kokeshi dolls, and American folk art quilts all mesh together just so, with a signature room scent by Santa Maria Novella. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "These 6 European Apartments Are Basically Private Design Hotels," 23 Aug. 2019 Along the way, mists of water, puffs of air and a marshmallow-like scent in the hidden realm of Cloud Cuckoo Land will enhance the interactive feel of the ride, housed in two three-level theaters. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lego Movie World will be Legoland’s biggest attraction ever," 15 Aug. 2019 In an online survey, 21,000 people preferred a scent-free commute, while 16,000 voted to extend the experiment. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Riders in Vienna have opted for stale subway air over aromatherapy," 10 Aug. 2019 Manion said some central and southern Michigan residents may smell a wildfire scent as the smoke descends in the atmosphere and moves south throughout the day. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Canadian wildfires make for hazy Michigan skies," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Every day an attendant puts fresh washcloths scented with eucalyptus oil in a cold refrigerator for people who want to mop their brows while exercising. Los Angeles Times, "Los Angeles apartment owners race to add luxury amenities," 11 Aug. 2019 Fluffy whipped cream, scented with fresh strawberry puree and served over more fruit puree. Robin Miller, azcentral, "Healthy summer dinners you can make without turning on the oven," 31 July 2019 Fox & the Knife calls it pepe e cacio and upends it gently, using goat butter and pink peppercorns, for a dish of thin spaghetti coated in silky sauce scented with Pecorino Sardo, a sheep’s milk cheese. Globe Staff,, "Celebrating simple pleasures at Karen Akunowicz’s restaurant Fox & the Knife," 23 July 2019 As if that wasn't enough, each crayon is scented — just like traditional Lip Smacker products. Kaleigh Fasanella, Teen Vogue, "Crayola Collaborated with Lip Smacker on a Line of Lip Products," 2 Apr. 2019 As if that wasn't enough, each crayon is scented — just like traditional Lip Smacker products. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Lip Smacker Teamed Up With Crayola for the Cutest Crayon-Themed Collection," 1 Apr. 2019 Yes, Green Corner looks like an antiseptic neighborhood counter-service joint, but just try to keep me away from the kifta kabob, scented with sumac and cinnamon, tender and meaty and dripping with sizzling lamb fat. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "The best restaurants in Mesa," 15 July 2019 In the atrium of Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, guests took their seats at tables scented with fresh-cut gardenias and found boxed Godiva truffles awaiting them. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "The School of American Ballet Hosts a Dance-Party Gala Dinner," 18 Mar. 2019 Specials change day-to-day, from caramel-scented braised pork belly to fried shrimp, heads and all (Le will encourage you to eat them whole). Michael Russell,, "Matta blazes a new trail for Vietnamese food in Portland," 20 June 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

15 Sep 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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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