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 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 Chalamet, therefore, isn’t the first actor to get the chance to smolder as one of Jo’s love interests. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Is Timothée Chalamet as smoldering as William Shatner was in the 1970s version of ‘Little Women’?," 17 Aug. 2019 But after a major attack by Pakistani militants on an Indian military base in Kashmir and the first Indian air strike on Pakistan proper since 1971, tensions are still smoldering between the two South Asian nuclear powers. Elbridge Colby, WSJ, "Take India’s Side, America," 12 Mar. 2019 Cox said, referring to smoldering logs and oak trees. Tatiana Sanchez,, "Firefighters make gains on vegetation fires burning in Contra Costa County," 4 Aug. 2019 Longtime pillars of the African American community were reduced to smoldering walls and piles of rubble. oregonlive, "After Notre Dame fire, $1 million raised for burned Louisiana churches," 17 Apr. 2019 Smoke from smoldering heavy fuels inside the containment lines may be visible and crews will be extinguishing hot spots Sunday. Bay City News, The Mercury News, "Oak Fire at Kelseyville contained at 53 acres," 8 Sep. 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

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for smolder

The first known use of smolder was in 1529

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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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something of little or no value

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