Other forms: smells; smelled

Smell is one of your five senses—the one you use your nose for. Dogs have such a sharp sense of smell that they can sniff out things like explosives and drugs.

Your sense of smell gives you important information, like "this milk is sour," or "I need a shower." An individual odor or scent is also a smell, and to perceive it with your nose is to smell it. If someone says, "You smell," it's not a compliment—what they mean is, "You don't smell good." While experts believe that smell has an Old English root, it was never recorded.

Definitions of smell
  1. noun
    the faculty that enables us to distinguish scents
    synonyms: olfaction, olfactory modality, sense of smell
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    the sense of smell (especially in animals)
    type of:
    modality, sense modality, sensory system
    a particular sense
    sensitivity to stimuli originating outside of the body
  2. noun
    the sensation that results when olfactory receptors in the nose are stimulated by particular chemicals in gaseous form
    “she loved the smell of roses”
    synonyms: odor, odour, olfactory perception, olfactory sensation
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    an odor left in passing by which a person or animal can be traced
    aroma, fragrance, perfume, scent
    a distinctive odor that is pleasant
    fetor, foetor, malodor, malodour, mephitis, reek, stench, stink
    a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
    having an acrid smell
    the scent of a greasy glandular secretion from the male musk deer
    the pleasing scent produced when incense is burned
    niff, pong
    an unpleasant smell
    a pleasant, earthly smell associated with rain, especially after a period of dry, warm weather
    type of:
    aesthesis, esthesis, sensation, sense datum, sense experience, sense impression
    an unelaborated elementary awareness of stimulation
  3. noun
    the act of perceiving the odor of something
    synonyms: smelling
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    sniff, snuff
    sensing an odor by inhaling through the nose
    type of:
    perception, sensing
    becoming aware of something via the senses
  4. noun
    any property detected by the olfactory system
    synonyms: aroma, odor, odour, olfactory property, scent
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    bouquet, fragrance, fragrancy, redolence, sweetness
    a pleasingly sweet olfactory property
    fetidness, foulness, malodorousness, rankness, stinkiness
    the attribute of having a strong offensive smell
    having the olfactory properties of musk
    the property of being rancid
    a pungent and distinctive odor
    B.O., body odor, body odour
    malodorousness resulting from a failure to bathe
    type of:
    a basic or essential attribute shared by all members of a class
  5. verb
    inhale the odor of; perceive by the olfactory sense
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    sniff, whiff
    perceive by inhaling through the nose
    nose, scent, wind
    catch the scent of; get wind of
    snuff, snuffle
    sniff or smell inquiringly
    get a noseful, get a whiff
    smell strongly and intensely
    type of:
    comprehend, perceive
    become aware of through the senses
  6. verb
    emit an odor
    “The soup smells good”
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    reek, stink
    smell badly and offensively
    become noticeable
    type of:
    cause to be perceived
    have perceptible qualities
  7. verb
    smell bad
    “He rarely washes, and he smells
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    reek, stink
    smell badly and offensively
    become noticeable
  8. noun
    the general atmosphere of a place or situation and the effect that it has on people
    “it had the smell of treason”
    synonyms: feel, feeling, flavor, flavour, look, spirit, tone
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    a flashy vulgar tone or atmosphere believed to be characteristic of the American film industry
    the spirit of the time; the spirit characteristic of an age or generation
    type of:
    ambiance, ambience, atmosphere
    a particular environment or surrounding influence
  9. verb
    have an element suggestive (of something)
    “this passage smells of plagiarism”
    synonyms: reek, smack
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    type of:
    evoke, paint a picture, suggest
    call to mind
  10. verb
    become aware of not through the senses but instinctively
    “i smell trouble”
    smell out corruption”
    synonyms: sense, smell out
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    type of:
    become conscious of




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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘smell'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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