smol·der | \ˈsmōl-dər \
variants: or smoulder
smoldered or smouldered; smoldering or smouldering\ˈsmōl-d(ə-)riŋ \

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Traffic cameras show the smoldering remnants of an RV on the shoulder of the interstate. Michael Williams,, "RV fire closes 2 lanes on northbound I-95 in Volusia County," 13 July 2018 Resident Shane Turpin posted a series of live videos on Facebook showing a sea of lava moving through a wooded area toward homes, leaving a trail of smoldering and fiery trees. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "Hawaii volcano: New eruption points allow lava into neighborhoods," 5 May 2018 What Paul’s tutoring does instead is fan the embers of Billie’s long-smoldering hunger to know and be more. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Born Yesterday' heroine calls her own shots in American Players Theatre remake," 26 June 2018 And so as another immigration crisis of his own making smoldered this past week, critics inside and outside Trump's party predicted another devastating, irremediable low point in his presidency. Jeremy W. Peters, Anchorage Daily News, "Numb to outrage, Republican voters feel a deepening bond to Trump," 24 June 2018 The power pole began to smolder in an alleyway between Hollywood Boulevard and Harrison Street in Downtown Hollywood. Juan Ortega,, "FPL restores power to downtown Hollywood after damaged pole caused outage," 14 July 2018 Alpine, where a 300-acre fire continues to smolder, saw 0.14 of an inch and Pine Valley, 0.04. Pauline Repard,, "San Diego County forecast this week: Hot, humid, cloudy," 7 July 2018 Don’t hate me One Direction fans, but between the sultry country twang and Ray’s smoldering voice, this was definitely the steamier version. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Best and worst of Summerfest Day 7: Kesha, Pixies, Midland, Cheat Codes and more," 4 July 2018 These are the cookbooks meant to be pored over, and chances are good that smoldering briquettes and warm vacation days will allow for just that. Bonnie S. Benwick, The Seattle Times, "7 new cookbooks good enough for a beach read," 2 July 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for smolder

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for smolder

The first known use of smolder was in 1529

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More Definitions for smolder



English Language Learners Definition of smolder

: to burn slowly without flames but usually with smoke

: to feel a strong emotion but keep it hidden

: to be felt strongly by someone without being directly shown or expressed


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.

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