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 The Knicks’ success means that, suddenly, the three-foot-tall piles of garbage on the sidewalk in front of your apartment don’t smell so bad. Sam Spero, The New Yorker, 26 May 2021 Despite its name, the flower did not smell overpoweringly corpse-like from a distance, but no one was feigning disappointment. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 May 2021 Symptoms include fever or chills, coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, loss to taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea and diarrhea. Liz Hardaway, San Antonio Express-News, 27 Feb. 2021 The same way eyesight, hearing, and physical strength vary among us, so does the ability to taste and smell. Lisa Zwirn, BostonGlobe.com, 26 Jan. 2021 According to the company, the bubbly cola is designed to taste and smell like a sweet and comforting apple pie, complete with warm notes of cinnamon, crisp apples, and buttery pastry crust. PEOPLE.com, 17 Dec. 2020 But in his junior year, Gattis was brutally attacked by an acquaintance, depriving him of the ability to taste or smell for more than a year. Paula L. Woods, Los Angeles Times, 2 Dec. 2020 A few days later, both her parents couldn’t taste or smell. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, 25 Nov. 2020 Some patients may have a cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, a recent loss of the ability to taste or smell, a sore throat, diarrhea, congestion or a runny nose, nausea or vomiting. Peggy O’hare, ExpressNews.com, 13 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The smell while these sticky wings bake in the oven is amazing. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, 25 May 2021 Amorphophallus titanum, also called corpse flowers, can grow up to 10 feet tall and stink like rotting flesh, though the smell is clearly not enough to keep crowds away. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 21 May 2021 Rasmus Prehn, Denmark’s agriculture minister, told local news outlets that the smell is a small price to pay to avoid years of uncertainty over possible pollution. Robert Hart, Forbes, 13 May 2021 In fact, products labeled unscented usually have a masking scent because the smell of raw cosmetics isn’t exactly pleasurable. Fiorella Valdesolo, WSJ, 12 May 2021 The smell of hog feces was overwhelming, Elsie Herring said. Sarah Kaplan, Anchorage Daily News, 11 May 2021 The smell of nail polish and acetone has always been quite nostalgic for me since. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 5 May 2021 Plus, Sarah says, even the smell of decaying cicada corpses is a good thing. Kathrine Nero, The Enquirer, 2 May 2021 The smell of gas was unavoidable upon entering Deborah Lewis’ residence at Concordia Place Apartments, as was the sight of black mold around windows in her bedrooms and kitchen. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, 23 Apr. 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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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

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Smell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smell. Accessed 15 Jun. 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
: 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

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