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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb According to the Bard, a rose by any other name wouldn't smell as sweet – but on social media, a celebrity's name can trend for very different reasons. Peter Suciu, Forbes, 6 Sep. 2021 The weaning facility doesn’t smell like a typical pig farm. Fortune, 3 July 2021 The formula didn't smell or leave a nasty grease stain on my clothing. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, 29 June 2021 Plus, the spray contains sweet almond oil and almond extract that make your hair smell amazing! Samantha Driscoll, Better Homes & Gardens, 7 Sep. 2021 Cyrano, defined by any other feature, might smell as well. Peter Debruge, Variety, 4 Sep. 2021 Scents are customizable, so the way crime shows should smell compared to Christmas movies is up to the buyer. Andrea Marks, Rolling Stone, 3 Sep. 2021 To revive linens that smell less than fresh, Glubiak suggests adding one cup of baking soda with detergent to the load and washing in warm or hot water. Marni Jameson, orlandosentinel.com, 20 Aug. 2021 Sambour can almost hear and smell the memories — the rattling sound of a vendor shaking a tin can of clams to entice her, the waft of dry spices. AZCentral.com, 18 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Amass Four Thieves lotion offers a vibrant autumnal smell thanks to allspice, cinnamon, clove and eucalyptus. Los Angeles Times, 16 Sep. 2021 But the harsh reality becomes apparent quickly, a smell on a hot, thin wind. Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2021 For example, a smell or a taste or a feeling has the ability to transport you to a different time and place too—to us, this is also a form of travel, but in a different way. Rachel King, Fortune, 12 Sep. 2021 The newspaper reported a foul smell outside the property. Fox News, 3 Sep. 2021 And to wet land, to those dirt streets that are not paved and where the rain falls, raising the steam along with a musty smell and a feeling of relaxation. Paula Móvil, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Sep. 2021 Garbage announces the days with its worsening smell. Quanta Magazine, 31 Aug. 2021 Tenderly, Sohel lifted him back onto the bed, inhaling his heavy sweet smell, so well remembered. Daniyal Mueenuddin, The New Yorker, 31 Aug. 2021 Chandlers Lane Police received a call about a horrible smell emanating from an apartment. cleveland, 27 Aug. 2021

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

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

22 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Smell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smell. Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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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 : odor
: an unpleasant odor
: the ability to notice or recognize odors : the ability to smell things

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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