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 Countertop and kitchen compost bins should have some kind of odor-blocking technology (usually in the form of carbon filters) so that your space doesn’t smell like rotting food scraps. Sarah Madaus, SELF, 27 July 2022 There are plenty of affordable options that smell just as good, if not better, than the pricey stuff. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 May 2022 The fragrance is vanilla, so your hair will smell good afterward. Chris Hachey, BGR, 29 Apr. 2022 And the Dahls, who had recently tested positive for the coronavirus, hadn’t been able to smell the smoke filling their home. Washington Post, 28 Jan. 2022 So before heading to dreamland, take a moment to smell the lavender! Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 21 July 2022 Selling any fictional character as a master of their craft is hard enough, and even more when their craft is something the viewer cannot taste or smell themselves. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 7 July 2022 To hear, see and even smell things that weren’t there. Los Angeles Times, 10 Mar. 2022 But without professional cleaning, a carpet can start to trap odors or allergens, causing your house to smell less than fresh. Patricia Shannon, Better Homes & Gardens, 7 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And [the smell of] outdoors, being in the sun—that feels like the beach. Lindy Segal, Harper's BAZAAR, 2 Aug. 2022 The smell of beer and peanuts wafted through the air, thanks to an H.V.A.C. system pumping out a synthetic beer-and-peanut scent to create a baseball-stadium-like aroma. Jonathan Zeller, The New Yorker, 30 June 2022 The smell of apple pie wafted from the door of one of the newest businesses in this city’s trendy Germantown neighborhood. Jon Marcus, BostonGlobe.com, 23 June 2022 The smell of barbecue and the sound of jazz music wafted through the air as people picnicked on a green lawn, and kids jumped on a bouncy house and slid down an inflatable slide. Adriana Pérez, Chicago Tribune, 19 June 2022 The smell of urine and feces reeked so badly that Lowe often breathed through his mouth and used jail clothing to cover his nose. Jonathan Edwards, Washington Post, 8 June 2022 The smell of rain and grass, the cool breeze on your cheek, the warm sun on your brow, the sound of running water or leaves rustling or birds chirping. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, 8 June 2022 The smell of food trucks mingled with the scent of spray paint as artists finished up paintings on west end of the festival. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, 29 May 2022 Some formulations are bacon-y, others fishy; some smell faintly of tea leaves or peaches, while others have no scent at all. Erika Stalder, refinery29.com, 11 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

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Smell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smell. Accessed 13 Aug. 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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