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 smouldering (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

As the gang leaders, Race Chambers is a taut, gritty Riff and Danny Diaz simply smolders as the proud Puerto Rican Bernardo. Daily Pilot, "On Theater: A heart-throbbing ‘West Side’ revival," 19 July 2019 The organization tries to address the problems that smolder in a population that has long been misunderstood and maligned. New York Times, "For Young People of Color, a Safe L.G.B.T.Q. Space in the Bronx," 29 June 2019 There’s also a murder mystery, political intrigue, and smoldering faerie-human romance between Cara Delevingne and Bloom (no pointy ears for the erstwhile Legolas on this one). Ew Staff,, "Comic-Con Must List: The 10 things we're most excited about at Comic-Con 2019," 18 July 2019 Like a topsy-turvy human volcano ready to erupt, Lucas presents herself as a recumbent mix of smoldering sensuality and rising anger — Venus Vesuvius. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Sarah Lucas show at the Hammer Museum is naked but definitely not afraid," 17 July 2019 Notes of cocoa and toffee and a smooth, velvety mouthfeel finish dry, with gently smoldering roast. Chuck Barney, The Mercury News, "‘Game of Thrones’: A final beer to toast the series," 11 July 2019 The main body of the fire had been extinguished, but crews remained on scene to put out smoldering hot spots within the footprint of the original fire, Phoenix Fire Captain Rob McDade said. Rocky Baier, azcentral, "Smokehouse wildfire controlled near Wittman; Jomax fire nears full containment," 8 July 2019 Violence and viruses The first embers of this outbreak began to smolder last summer, when cases started appearing in northeast Congo. Nichole Sobecki, National Geographic, "The world's second-biggest Ebola outbreak is still raging. Here's why.," 24 May 2019 And in October, Ruiz released her third Jessica 6 album, The Eliot Sessions, which features eights songs dripping in her signature smoldering nu-disco sound. Jasmin Hernandez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Nomi Ruiz on Making Art That Means Something," 17 Jan. 2019

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

8 Aug 2019

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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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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