smelt

1 of 3

noun

plural smelts or smelt
: any of a family (Osmeridae) of small bony fishes that closely resemble the trouts in general structure, live along coasts and ascend rivers to spawn or are landlocked, and have delicate oily flesh with a distinctive odor and taste

smelt

2 of 3

verb

smelted; smelting; smelts

transitive verb

1
: to melt or fuse (a substance, such as ore) often with an accompanying chemical change usually to separate the metal
2

smelt

3 of 3

chiefly British past participle of smell entry 1

Examples of smelt in a Sentence

Verb the process used for smelting iron ore
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Additionally, the texture of raw smelt is perfect for cleaning your dog's teeth and promoting good dental hygiene. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 30 June 2023 This year’s smelt run in the Sandy River is the largest since 2015, another year when notoriously large numbers of sea lions traveled to Oregon and into the Columbia basin. Gwozniac, oregonlive, 8 Apr. 2023 The requirements, part of 1995 water-quality standards, call for enough flows through the estuary to keep salinity at levels that benefit fish including longfin smelt and Delta smelt. Ian Jamesstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 16 Feb. 2023 As noted above, bluegills and threadfin shad are more commonly eaten by bass across southern fisheries, while goby, perch, and smelt are the more typical fare in the North. Shaye Baker, Field & Stream, 14 June 2023 After the smelt run tapers off, most sea lions start on their way home, but some have stayed to catch the spring salmon run. Gwozniac, oregonlive, 8 Apr. 2023 Longfin smelt and yellowfin gobies are spawning in the usually swampy southern end of the bay, and sediment coming in from mountain streams is replenishing the structure of its basin. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 May 2023 The angler is throwing smelt flavor Sturgeon Candy, a popular bait in the Great Northwest, on a little sinker. Bill Heavey, Field & Stream, 3 May 2023 The couple have developed a private crane sanctuary on their 25 acres, digging wells to create ponds and spending half their pension on corn and frozen smelt to feed three crane couples that have returned daily year after year and produced 60 chicks. New York Times, 21 Mar. 2022
Verb
Metal strings are smelted into new alloys, while nylon strings are recycled for industrial plastic applications — keeping both out of landfills, where over 1.5 million pounds of strings accumulate every year, according to Playback. Josh Glicksman, Billboard, 2 Apr. 2024 These objects would have been stored with the intention of smelting them down to be repurposed into new equipment. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 2 Apr. 2024 The blast was the latest in a series of fatalities at nickel smelting plants in Indonesia that are part of China’s ambitious transnational development program known as the Belt and Road Initiative. Mohammad Taufan, Quartz, 12 Feb. 2024 Adults can be exposed through occupational and environmental circumstances, too: When materials that contain lead are burned—for example, during smelting—those nearby may inhale lead particles. Maggie O'Neill, Health, 1 Feb. 2024 The free disposal process doesn’t involve smelting or crushing, but the guns rather are taken apart, with the receiver or frame being the only piece destroyed. Detroit Free Press, 10 Jan. 2024 The building was designed to filter pollutants produced by smelting, the melting of rocks that separates metal from its ore. Martin Schiavenato, The Conversation, 30 Aug. 2023 In the Late Bronze Age, humans learned to smelt iron, and things haven’t been the same since. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, 3 Aug. 2023 Participants ate salad using biodegradable cutlery and drank seltzer from cans that could have been smelted from Guinean bauxite. Lisa Song, ProPublica, 15 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'smelt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Norwegian smelte whiting

Verb

Dutch or Low German smelten; akin to Old High German smelzan to melt, Old English meltan — more at melt

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1543, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of smelt was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near smelt

Cite this Entry

“Smelt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smelt. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

smelt

1 of 2 noun
plural smelts or smelt
: any of several very small food fishes that look like the related trouts and live in fresh water or in coastal sea waters

smelt

2 of 2 verb
1
: to melt (as ore) usually in order to separate the metal
2

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