1

smell

verb \ ˈsmel \

Definition of smell

smelled play \ˈsmeld\ or smelt play \ˈsmelt\; smelling
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
2 a (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

smeller

noun
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

Examples of smell in a Sentence

  1. She leaned over and smelled the flowers.

  2. I have a cold right now so I can't smell.

  3. I can't smell anything because I'm so stuffed up.

  4. I could smell dinner cooking.

  5. I think I smell gas.

  6. This car smells like mold.

  7. Can't you smell the profits?

Recent Examples of smell from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of smell

Middle English

smell Synonyms

Synonyms
nose, scent, sniff, snuff, whiff
Antonyms
rock [slang], rule [slang]
Related Words
breathe, drink (in), inhale, respire; snort, snuffle; savor (also savour)

2

smell

noun

Definition of smell

1 :the property of a thing that affects the olfactory organs :odor
2 a :the process, function, or power of smelling
b :the sense concerned with the perception of odor
3 a :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

Examples of smell in a Sentence

  1. the distinctive smell of onions

  2. Dogs have a keen sense of smell.

Recent Examples of smell from the Web

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

12th century

Synonym Discussion of smell

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


SMELL Defined for English Language Learners

smell

verb

Definition of smell for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of smell for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

smell

verb \ ˈsmel \

Definition of smell for Students

smelled \ˈsmeld\ or smelt \ˈsmelt\; smelling
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.

2

smell

noun

Definition of smell for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

1

smell

verb \ ˈsmel \

medical Definition of smell

smelled play \ˈsmeld\ or smelt play \ˈsmelt\; smelling
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

2

smell

noun

medical Definition of smell

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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pleasing or sweet sound

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