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

In the Redding area, entire neighborhoods have been left smoldering, while 37,000 people were under evacuation orders. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "2 young children, great-grandmother unaccounted for as Carr Fire devastates Northern California," 28 July 2018 And so as another immigration crisis of his own making smoldered this past week, critics inside and outside Mr. Trump’s party predicted another devastating, irremediable low point in his presidency. Jeremy W. Peters, New York Times, "As Critics Assail Trump, His Supporters Dig In Deeper," 23 June 2018 Packed with winking, pointing, smoldering, and suggestive brow-raising, the feature-length film has earned more than 200,000 views so far. Hanna Lustig, Teen Vogue, "Netflix Re-Released Its Cole Sprouse Eating a Hamburger Video for IGTV," 22 June 2018 Pockets in the ground were still smoldering and billowing smoke. Umair Irfan, Vox, "The Paradise fire is catastrophic. And the wildfire threat to California is only growing.," 17 Nov. 2018 Wonho's makeup artist gave his smoldering eye makeup a glitzy twist with a twinkling shade of graphite shadow. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Monsta X's 9 Most Daring Eye Makeup Looks From the "Shoot Out" Music Video," 22 Oct. 2018 Kimball played off the mishap with a smile and the trio ended their Magic Mike-esque dance (complete with gyrations and smoldering stares into the camera), by standing under a shower on the stage and shaking their wet hair. Rose Minutaglio, Good Housekeeping, "Joe Amabile's 'Dancing With the Stars' Guest Jordan Kimball Suffered Hilarious Wardrobe Malfunction," 16 Oct. 2018 Try the smoldering North Carolina pulled pork and pit smoked beans. Leslie Pariseau, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Days in Detroit," 3 Oct. 2018 There was no official estimate on the extent of the property damage, as videos circulating on social media showed the charred, still-smoldering remains of markets and government offices, including the province’s main voter-registration center. Ehsanullah Amiri, WSJ, "Afghan City Gauges Toll After Taliban Siege," 14 Aug. 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

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for smolder

The first known use of smolder was in 1529

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on smolder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with smolder

Spanish Central: Translation of smolder

Nglish: Translation of smolder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smolder for Arabic Speakers

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having a pattern of small flowers

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