smell

verb
\ ˈsmel \
smelled\ˈsmeld \ or smelt\ˈsmelt \; 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

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Other words from smell

Verb

smeller noun

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And smells amazing and cannot give enough props on the fun and inventive packaging! Marci Robin, Allure, "Kim Kardashian Sent Drew Barrymore Her New Kimoji Peach Fragrance and She's Loves It," 14 July 2018 The development of the sensory garden, which will contain plants that appeal to the senses of touch, smell and sight, as well as the the smaller game courts will be completed in November, officials said. Michelle Mullins, Daily Southtown, "Homer Glen OKs $2.6 million for new playground, sensory garden; work to begin soon," 13 July 2018 To do this, McGrath uses the virtual reality headset to create a situation and also incorporates noises and smells to set the scene. Kate Thayer, chicagotribune.com, "Virtual reality can help people overcome fear of heights, study shows," 12 July 2018 Brewed specifically for International Women’s Day with a hop blend from the Pink Boots Society, a club of female brewers, this New England IPA carries smelling notes of orange blossom and peaches. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "These 15 Sacramento-area beers have the cleverest names of any released in 2018," 12 July 2018 In the 1860s, a French engineer named Pierre-Emile Martin learned of the design and built a Siemens furnace to smelt steel. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 Dogs can also smell separately with each nostril, which gives them the ability to pinpoint the direction that the smell is coming from. Southern Living, "10 Things You Should Know About Your Dog," 3 July 2018 Stir until the couscous begins to color and smell toasty, 4 to 5 minutes. Susan Selasky, ajc, "5 recipes to cool things down on hot days," 3 July 2018 The Chandler Police Department's report, posted online now, verifies those details and says Keim smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "Cardinals’ GM, who played for NC State, lied to cops about his job, police report shows," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The mother has fallen in love with the smell of Play-Doh and stashes open cans all over the house. Ramona Ausubel, New York Times, "Flawed, Fragile, Hungry Human Bodies: A.M. Homes’s Stories Get Under the Skin," 4 July 2018 With the smell of hot dogs on the grill and cars still rolling into the lots, Cinnaminson native Dane Hardy stood over his bright red grill. Mitchell Gladstone, Philly.com, "Who are all these Yankees fans invading Phillies' Citizens Bank Park?," 27 June 2018 Police said there was a foul odor coming from the room that officers associated with the smell of a decomposing body. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Police: Woman kept boyfriend's body in Sharonville motel room for 4 days after OD death," 15 June 2018 The best essential oil diffuser Everyone loves filling their home with the smell of a good candle. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "These are the 5 best deals on Amazon right now," 11 June 2018 There are a whole host of ways a woman’s body might change in the weeks and months after giving birth: new moms can experience intense pelvic pain, postpartum depression, and, more favorably, an obsession with the smell of their new baby’s head. Katie Heaney, The Cut, "Here’s How Soon You Can Have Sex After Giving Birth," 18 May 2018 Officers found the Minnesota native alert and conscious, but highly intoxicated with a strong smell of alcohol in her breath, police said. Fox News, "Cops: 'One of the worst DUI offenders in the US' arrested with liquor bottle in passenger seat," 5 Apr. 2018 The time has come for the smell of funnel cakes and the whir of amusement park rides in Marion County. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "What you need to know about the Marion County Fair," 15 June 2018 The smell of java is nonexistent as the air is thick with the sweet, piney aroma of weed being smoked by shop patrons. Gerrick D. Kennedy, latimes.com, "It took years for Arin Ray to find his voice after his 'X Factor' elimination. Now he's on 'Fire'," 14 June 2018

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.

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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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Learn More about smell

Dictionary Entries near smell

smeek

smeeth

smegma

smell

smellable

smellage

smell-feast

Statistics for smell

Last Updated

22 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for smell

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

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More Definitions for smell

smell

verb

English Language Learners Definition of smell

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to use your nose to sense smells

: to be able to use your nose to sense smells

: to notice something because of its smell

smell

noun

English Language Learners Definition of smell (Entry 2 of 2)

: the quality of a thing that you can sense with your nose

: an unpleasant odor

: the ability to notice or recognize odors : the ability to smell things

smell

verb
\ ˈsmel \
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 \
smelled\ˈsmeld \ or smelt\ˈsmelt \; 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on smell

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smell

Spanish Central: Translation of smell

Nglish: Translation of smell for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smell for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about smell

Comments on smell

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