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 Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press Mark Dantonio stood by himself, the 39-yard mark at Michigan Stadium a line of solitude and smoldering. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football reverts to pre-Dantonio era with undisciplined loss to Michigan," 16 Nov. 2019 There was nothing the relatives could do but watch the still-smoldering vehicle. Author: Mary Beth Sheridan, Anchorage Daily News, "At least 9 members of Mormon family with US citizenship brutally killed in northern Mexico," 5 Nov. 2019 And just because the fire is contained doesn’t mean there still won’t be some smoke and fuels that smolder, officials said. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "Snowstorm douses Decker fire," 24 Oct. 2019 Ash rained down nearby on Pacific Coast Highway as the canyon smoldered. Los Angeles Times, "Fires burn across Southern California as dangerous winds continue through Friday," 22 Oct. 2019 The measures set a spark to long smoldering anger against top leaders from the president and prime minister to the numerous factional figures many blame for decades of corruption and mismanagement. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Faced with protests, Lebanon PM blames own gov’t for crisis," 18 Oct. 2019 Straight out of a Sergio Leone epic, smoldering John Leguizamo personifies the rabid killer Tybalt, a macho Capulet whose hatred of Romeo escalates with fatal results. David Hunter, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Romeo + Juliet': THR's 1996 Review," 31 Oct. 2019 The hillside to the south of the freeway was smoldering and blackened. Steve Rubenstein,, "Smoky brush fire shuts part of I-580 at Flynn Road," 31 Aug. 2019 Light cast upon different kinds of materials will naturally glow, and underground caverns will now smolder in impressive red light seeping from nearby lava flows. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "After canceling one upgrade, Minecraft gets another—and it’s Nvidia RTX exclusive," 19 Aug. 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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Time Traveler for smolder

Time Traveler

The first known use of smolder was in 1529

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Statistics for smolder

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Smolder.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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How to pronounce smolder (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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