smell

verb
\ ˈsmel How to pronounce smell (audio) \
smelled\ ˈsmeld How to pronounce smelled (audio) \ or chiefly British smelt\ ˈsmelt How to pronounce smelt (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 My hair would smell like him all day and that could be enough for me, surely. Ella Dawson, Longreads, "The Lie of ‘One Last Time’ with My Ex," 18 May 2020 His umbilical cord stump feels hard against my belly and faintly smells like rotting flesh. refinery29.com, "The First Seven Days: A Weeklong Diary About Giving Birth In A Pandemic," 6 May 2020 Traditionally, it’s made by letting tea, milk, water, and spices boil away in a pot until the liquid thickens up and the spices have so intensely imprinted themselves onto the tea that the whole room smells like cardamom and cinnamon. Priya Krishna, Bon Appétit, "My Mom's 10-Minute Chai Requires a Kettle, a Tea Bag, and Just One Spice," 4 Apr. 2020 My tomato was the size of a thumbnail, smelled like a whole hothouse, and burned my lips with the first bite. Sheyna Gifford, Time, "Ten Tips From ‘Mars’ for Quarantined Earthlings," 2 Apr. 2020 And stirring in a few drops of an essential oil, such as lavender, will give the mixture a pleasing fragrance — so users don't smell like rubbing alcohol around the home or office. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Can't get your hands on hand sanitizer? Make your own," 3 Mar. 2020 The air was hazed with smoke from campfires and smelled of delicious hot food. Lauren Groff, Harper's magazine, "Waiting for the End of the World," 1 Mar. 2020 Just add eggs, butter and milk to Toffee Oat, Cinnadoodle and Triple Chocolate mixes and the house magically smells like the holidays. Doreen Christensen, sun-sentinel.com, "Cute Trader Joe’s products will make your holidays merry and bright," 6 Dec. 2019 Because of this, the tunnel smells peculiar and fetid, like a malodorous cheese (think Stilton or Limburger) but with an earthy finish and notes of sweaty socks and horse manure. Madeline Ostrander, Smithsonian Magazine, "In a Tunnel Beneath Alaska, Scientists Race to Understand Disappearing Permafrost," 4 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some flowers may smell as good, but none smell better. Steve Bender, Southern Living, "Southern Magnolia – Your Questions Answered," 22 May 2020 To keep your home clean and reduce any foul smells, ferrets can be trained to use a litter box, just like pet cats. Texas A&m University, Houston Chronicle, "PET TALK: Down to business: Ferrets as pets," 16 May 2020 Those symptoms include fever, cough, or shortness of breath, loss of the sense of taste or smell, body aches, chills, as well as gastrointestinal symptoms. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Grosse Ile's COVID-19 testing unlike any other in the state," 14 May 2020 Changes in color, smell, or texture also indicate spoiled meat, though a change in color alone doesn't necessarily mean your meat has gone bad. Corinne Sullivan, Woman's Day, "How Long Is Frozen Chicken Good For? Here's the Scoop," 7 May 2020 The smells of dinner drift through doors and commingle in the lobby. Nicole Daniels, New York Times, "What’s the First Thing You Plan to Do After Quarantine?," 7 May 2020 The smell of your weird is totally affecting my vocal chords. Kori Williams, Seventeen, "45 Funny Movie Quotes That Will Keep You Laughing," 6 May 2020 Citrus fruits give a lot of physical indicators of ripeness beyond smell, as well. Paul Stephen, ExpressNews.com, "Cooking with Paul: How to tell when produce is ripe when your mask denies you of sense of smell amid the coronavirus," 25 Apr. 2020 More 3D Printing News The printer could make small, sharply detailed shapes in the same vein as the touristy Mold-o-Rama machines—with or without the characteristic burning smell, and definitely without the polyethylene plastic. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "A Tiny Home 3D Printer Can Be Yours for $79," 20 Apr. 2020

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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Statistics for smell

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Smell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smell. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for smell

smell

verb
How to pronounce smell (audio)

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 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 smelled (audio) \ or smelt\ ˈsmelt How to pronounce smelt (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

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Comments on smell

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