smell

verb
\ ˈsmel How to pronounce smell (audio) \
smelled\ ˈsmeld How to pronounce smell (audio) \ or chiefly British smelt\ ˈsmelt How to pronounce smell (audio) \; smelling

Definition of smell

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to perceive the odor or scent of through stimuli affecting the olfactory nerves : get the odor or scent of with the nose
2 : to detect or become aware of as if by the sense of smell I smell trouble
3 : to emit the odor of

intransitive verb

1 : to exercise the sense of smell
2a(1) : to have an odor or scent
(2) : to have a characteristic aura or atmosphere : smack the accounts … seemed to me to smell of truth— R. S. Bourne also : seem, appear the story didn't smell right
b(1) : to have an offensive odor : stink
(2) : to be of bad or questionable quality all this from the moral point of view smells— A. F. Wills
smell a rat
: to have a suspicion of something wrong
smell blood
: to sense an opponent's weakness or vulnerability
smell the roses
: to enjoy or savor life

smell

noun

Definition of smell (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the property of a thing that affects the olfactory organs : odor
2a : the process, function, or power of smelling
b : the sense concerned with the perception of odor
3a : a very small amount : trace add only a smell of garlic
b : a pervading or characteristic quality : aura the smell of affluence, of power— Harry Hervey
4 : an act or instance of smelling

Other Words from smell

Verb

smeller noun

Synonyms for smell

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for smell

Noun

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 smell in a Sentence

Verb She leaned over and smelled the flowers. I have a cold right now so I can't smell. I can't smell anything because I'm so stuffed up. I could smell dinner cooking. I think I smell gas. This car smells like mold. Can't you smell the profits? Noun the distinctive smell of onions Dogs have a keen sense of smell. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Happy, born in the wild in 1971, is one of two Asian elephants currently kept at the zoo, which are kept in separate but adjacent enclosures and are able to smell, see, and touch each other with their trunks through the fence. Zoe Sottile, CNN, 22 May 2022 If this weren’t already amazing enough, Aesop created this moisturizer to not only be beneficial to the skin but to also smell amazing, inviting and energizing. The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 May 2022 Make time to smell the flowers, as the meticulous arrangements throughout the space are an essential component of TEFAF. Natasha Gural, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Lyn Wojcik stops to smell a rose at the James P. Kelleher Rose Garden in Boston. Pamela Wright, BostonGlobe.com, 6 May 2022 Shouldn’t we be celebrated for taking our time to smell the roses? Jason Gay, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2022 After several days of raising a revolting stink, the Rollins College greenhouse is beginning to smell refreshing again as its second corpse plant ceases its deathly odor and begins to close. Joe Mario Pedersen, Orlando Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2022 If the bin starts to smell or gets too wet from drippy food, remove it immediately, Grossman said, and add fresh bedding to soak up the excess moisture. Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2022 In comparing the two, the researchers found that some of the missing Christmas Island rat genes dealt with its ability to smell. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 10 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The whole house is infused with the suffocating smell of ripe fat. Claire Messud, Harper’s Magazine , 25 May 2022 In the Butte Boyer neighborhood, where at least 48 killings were reported, the smell of charred homes and decaying bodies spread for several blocks. DÁnica Coto, BostonGlobe.com, 22 May 2022 As police try to contain the gang violence, AP journalists visited the Butte Boyer neighborhood, where the smell of charred homes and decaying bodies spread for several blocks. Evens Sanon And Dánica Coto, Anchorage Daily News, 22 May 2022 CarrieAnn Young was passing the cafeteria at her job in early March when the smell hit her: roadkill. Andrea Ball, USA TODAY, 21 May 2022 The smell during this period is intoxicating — sweet bread aromas mingled with the mysteries of toasted spice — and fills my whole house with the scent of Shabbat. Benjamin, Longreads, 20 May 2022 Additionally, the addition of cinnamon and citrus provide a natural pleasant fragrance with no artificial smell that a lot of moisturizers have. The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 May 2022 Some were unavoidable; the sand cleaned flesh out of the tires and the smell didn’t linger. Ben Taub, The New Yorker, 16 May 2022 The rich smell of ink and the sound of the machines at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel printing facility have only changed a little. Corrinne Hess, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 16 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'smell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of smell

Verb

12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for smell

Verb

Middle English

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Time Traveler for smell

Time Traveler

The first known use of smell was in the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near smell

smegma

smell

smellable

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Statistics for smell

Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Smell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smell. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for smell

smell

verb
\ ˈsmel How to pronounce smell (audio) \
smelled\ ˈsmeld \ or smelt\ ˈsmelt \; smelling

Kids Definition of smell

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to detect the odor of by means of special cells located in the nose Stop and smell the flowers.
2 : to notice (something) because of its odor I think I smell gas.
3 : to have or give off an odor My dog smells wet.
4 : to sense as if by smelling I smell trouble.

smell

noun

Kids Definition of smell (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the sense by which a person or animal becomes aware of an odor
2 : the sensation gotten through the sense of smell : odor, scent

smell

verb
\ ˈsmel How to pronounce smell (audio) \
smelled\ ˈsmeld How to pronounce smell (audio) \ or smelt\ ˈsmelt How to pronounce smell (audio) \; smelling

Medical Definition of smell

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to perceive the odor or scent of through stimuli affecting the olfactory nerves : get the odor or scent of with the nose

intransitive verb

: to exercise the sense of smell

smell

noun

Medical Definition of smell (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the property of a thing that affects the olfactory organs : odor
2 : the special sense concerned with the perception of odor

More from Merriam-Webster on smell

Nglish: Translation of smell for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smell for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about smell

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