smol·​der | \ ˈsmōl-dər How to pronounce smolder (audio) \
variants: or smoulder
smoldered or smouldered; smoldering or smouldering\ ˈsmōl-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce smolder (audio) \

Definition of smolder

intransitive verb

1a : to burn sluggishly, without flame, and often with much smoke
b : to be consumed by smoldering often used with out
2 : to exist in a state of suppressed activity hostilities smoldered for years
3 : to show suppressed anger, hate, or jealousy eyes smoldering with hate

Examples of smolder in a Sentence

The remains of the campfire smoldered. Her eyes smoldered with anger. Anger smoldered in my heart.
Recent Examples on the Web Fire can smolder below the surface in the duff for weeks. New York Times, 20 Aug. 2022 From there, the whole birds are skewered and placed into rotisserie ovens that smolder with natural wood charcoal, generating enough heat to cook the poultry in about an hour. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 18 July 2022 These cuts follow other contractions in the real estate industry as the red hot housing market has begun to smolder. Anna Bahney, CNN, 20 June 2022 Blazes such as the Calf Canyon fire that overwinter, continuing to smolder throughout recurring snowfall and cold weather, are even more unusual. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, 27 May 2022 Andreas Frank watched from the second story of his ridge-top Laguna Niguel home as the hillside below began to smolder. Hannah Frystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 6 June 2022 Later in the day, the Coast Guard tweeted the boat had burned down to the waterline and continued to smolder about 1 mile west of Nehalem Bay State Park. Fox News, 20 June 2022 Branches used for cooking fires smolder in piles nearby. New York Times, 14 June 2022 Even throwing those materials into the dirt can smolder and ignite nearby organic material. Anchorage Daily News, 30 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'smolder.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of smolder

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for smolder

Middle English smolderen to smother, from smolder smoke, smudge; akin to Middle Dutch smōlen to smolder

Learn More About smolder

Time Traveler for smolder

Time Traveler

The first known use of smolder was in 1529

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near smolder

smoky topaz



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for smolder

Last Updated

3 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Smolder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for smolder


variants: or smoulder
smoldered or smouldered; smoldering or smouldering

Kids Definition of smolder

1 : to burn slowly usually with smoke and without flame A fire was smoldering in the grate.
2 : to burn inwardly Her anger smoldered.


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!