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(1)   The act of perceiving the odor of something
(2)   Any property detected by the olfactory system
(3)   The faculty that enables us to distinguish scents
(4)   The sensation that results when olfactory receptors in the nose are stimulated by particular chemicals in gaseous form
"She loved the smell of roses"
(5)   The general atmosphere of a place or situation and the effect that it has on people
"The feel of the city excited him"
"A clergyman improved the tone of the meeting"
"It had the smell of treason"


(6)   Emit an odor
"The soup smells good"
(7)   Smell bad
"He rarely washes, and he smells"
(8)   Inhale the odor of; perceive by the olfactory sense


From , , ; cf. , cognate to , ; . Cf. , .


  1. A sensation, pleasant or unpleasant, detected by inhaling air (or, the case of water-breathing animals, water) carrying airborne molecules of a substance.
    I love the smell of fresh bread.
  2. The sense that detects smells.


  • (sensation):
    • (pleasant): aroma, fragrance, odor/odour, scent
    • (unpleasant): odor/odour, niff (informal), pong (informal), reek, stench, stink, whiff (informal)
  • (sense): olfaction (in technical use), sense of smell
  • See also Wikisaurus:smell


  1. To sense a smell or smells.
    I can smell fresh bread.
    Smell the milk and tell me whether it's gone off.
  2. To have the smell (of).
    His feet smell of cheese.
    The bum smelt like a brewery.
  3. To have a particular smell, whether good or bad.
    The roses smell lovely.

  • (sense a smell or smells): detect, sense
  • (have the smell of): (all followed by like or of)