\ ˈsent How to pronounce scent (audio) \

Definition of scent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : effluvia from a substance that affect the sense of smell: such as
a : an odor left by an animal on a surface passed over
b : a characteristic or particular odor especially : one that is agreeable
2a : power of smelling : sense of smell a keen scent
b : power of detection : nose a scent for heresy
3 : a course of pursuit or discovery throw one off the scent
4 : inkling, intimation a scent of trouble
6 : bits of paper dropped in the game of hare and hounds
7 : a mixture prepared for use as a lure in hunting or fishing


scented; scenting; scents

Definition of scent (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to perceive by the olfactory organs : smell
b : to get or have an inkling of scent trouble
2 : to imbue or fill with odor scented the air with perfume

intransitive verb

1 : to yield an odor of some specified kind this scents of sulfur also : to bear indication or suggestions
2 : to use the nose in seeking or tracking prey

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Other Words from scent


scentless \ ˈsent-​ləs How to pronounce scent (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for scent

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for scent


fragrance, perfume, scent, redolence mean a sweet or pleasant odor. fragrance suggests the odors of flowers or other growing things. the fragrance of pine perfume may suggest a stronger or heavier odor. the perfume of lilacs scent is very close to perfume but of wider application because more neutral in connotation. scent-free soaps redolence implies a mixture of fragrant or pungent odors. the redolence of a forest after a rain

smell, scent, odor, aroma mean the quality that makes a thing perceptible to the olfactory sense. smell implies solely the sensation without suggestion of quality or character. an odd smell permeated the room scent applies to the characteristic smell given off by a substance, an animal, or a plant. the scent of lilacs odor may imply a stronger or more readily distinguished scent or it may be equivalent to smell. a cheese with a strong odor aroma suggests a somewhat penetrating usually pleasant odor. the aroma of freshly ground coffee

Examples of scent in a Sentence

Noun The flower has a wonderful scent. The dogs followed the fox's scent. The prisoner escaped because the dogs lost his scent. Verb The dog scented a rabbit. She scented the air with perfume.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As the days grew shorter and cooler and as the scent of autumn leaves filled the air at my family’s home in Howard County, a black walnut hunt was usually in the offing. Karl Merton Ferron,, 8 Oct. 2021 The leaves had just started to fall along the soft dirt trail along the Wilson River on a recent October day, the sweet scent of late summer blending into autumn’s musk after a fresh coat of rain had fallen across the Coast Range. oregonlive, 6 Oct. 2021 The UConn football team got close enough to sniff a first victory, but again they were thrown off the scent. Dom Amore,, 3 Oct. 2021 All over Mexico, mothers wander under the scorching sun, poking at the earth and sniffing for the tell-tale scent of decomposing flesh, hoping for a scrap that points toward their missing son or daughter. Oscar Lopez, New York Times, 3 Oct. 2021 The flavor profiles in the gin accentuate the Langham’s signature scent of ginger. Jillian Dara, Forbes, 28 Sep. 2021 The new ad featuring Robinson shows all consumers from different walks of life breathing deep the scent of washed socks and sheets. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 27 Sep. 2021 Still, these spices together mimic the scent of cooked squash, and our minds fill in the gaps. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, 22 Sep. 2021 The phantom scent of something burning still bothers her for hours at a time., 19 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Meanwhile, a backlash is stirring among rural Republican politicians who scent a new battleground in the partisan culture wars. Mike Dorning, Fortune, 16 May 2021 Lavender also can be used to scent your bath or flavor sugar, cakes, cookies, custards and assorted desserts. Connie Nelson, Star Tribune, 24 Mar. 2021 Despite the seeming futility of trying to scent an unbound space, Mrs. Treynet actually prefers using incense outside. Catherine Dash, WSJ, 31 Mar. 2021 The bouquet contains spiral eucalyptus, roses, boxwood, wax flower, salal leaves and leather fern, plus a few sprigs of rosemary to scent the air around it. Krystin Arneson, CNN Underscored, 26 Mar. 2021 Not only did actress Kerry Washington dub the high-end candle brand one of her favorite things, but Meghan Markle also used the high-end candle brand to scent her wedding to Prince Harry. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, 8 Dec. 2020 The New Cosy, then, is all about softening life’s harsh edges: Diffusers that blow delicate puffs of steam to scent our rooms. Michelle Santiago Cortés,, 26 Nov. 2020 Some even scent their clothing with crushed apples. Field & Stream, 20 Nov. 2020 Continental breeds such as Brittanies prefer to scent the ground rather than the air and therefore are believed to be unpossessed of the full-choke noses common to English setters and pointers. Star Tribune, 17 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scent.' 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 scent


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for scent


Middle English sent, from Anglo-French sente, from sentir


Middle English senten, from Anglo-French sentir to feel, smell, from Latin sentire to perceive, feel — more at sense

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Time Traveler for scent

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The first known use of scent was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near scent



scent bag

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for scent



English Language Learners Definition of scent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a pleasant smell that is produced by something
: a smell that is left by an animal or person and that can be sensed and followed by some animals (such as dogs)
: a slight indication of something that is going to happen or that might happen



English Language Learners Definition of scent (Entry 2 of 2)

: to become aware of (something) by smell
: to give (something) a pleasing smell


\ ˈsent How to pronounce scent (audio) \

Kids Definition of scent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an odor that is given off by someone or something … a little wind … brought a fresh scent of newly turned earth with it.— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
2 : power or sense of smell The dog has a keen scent.
3 : a course followed in search or pursuit of something The reporter was on the scent of a story.


scented; scenting

Kids Definition of scent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to become aware of or follow through the sense of smell The dog scented a rabbit.
2 : to get a hint of Aunt Petunia obviously scented danger, too …— J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
3 : to fill with an odor : perfume Roses scent the air.

More from Merriam-Webster on scent

Nglish: Translation of scent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scent for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about scent


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