Smell Words

In In Praise of Smelly Places, writer Emily Badger notes that, although distinctive smells are intrinsic to urban landscapes, we seldom ponder and plan for smells in part because we barely have the vocabulary to do so.

Start changing that today by reviewing this list of words associated with smell.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. bouquet
    a pleasingly sweet olfactory property
    This wine was perhaps the most subtle of the group, starting out with its bouquet and flavor tightly closed but then developing fast as it breathed. --The New York Times
  2. incense
    a substance that produces a fragrant odor when burned
    The camels came laden with fragrant spices, sweet-smelling incense, ivory, gold dust, silks and many other articles of luxury.Dinet, Etienne
  3. reek
    smell badly and offensively
    The charge was absurd, he said, his breath reeking of alcohol.New York Times (Jan 15, 2012)
  4. aroma
    any property detected by the sense of smell
    The pink slime burger also was perfectly seared and drew me in with an equally alluring aroma.Seattle Times (Mar 16, 2012)
  5. reek
    a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
    A heavy reek of petrol fumes and sulphurous smoke scented the confined space.Westerman, Percy F. (Percy Francis)
  6. scent
    a distinctive odor that is pleasant
    Expanding a bit more about his feelings about the scent, Mr. Rivera pronounced it both “fresh and clean” and “breezy, masculine, very classic.”`New York Times (Apr 26, 2012)
  7. scent
    an odor by which a person or animal can be traced
    “You were on the wrong scent, no doubt.Coolidge, Asenath Carver
  8. scent
    get wind of
    Accordingly, the central political detective office at St. Petersburg despatched several picked men there to scent for his underground trail.Cahan, Abraham
  9. sniff
    perceive by inhaling through the nose
    The Nose Knows Can cadaver dogs really sniff out 30-year-old remains?Slate (Apr 19, 2012)
  10. stench
    a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
    Hydrogen sulphide, the gas famed for generating the stench in stink bombs, flatulence and bad breath, has been harnessed by stem cell researchers in Japan.
  11. whiff
    perceive by inhaling through the nose
    His mother made sure this coach did not have a whiff of scandal.New York Times (Jun 23, 2011)
  12. body odor
    malodorousness resulting from a failure to bathe
    There were complaints about husbands with atrocious body odor and others who changed the channels too fast.New York Times (Apr 7, 2012)
  13. fetidness
    the attribute of having a strong offensive smell
    This fetidness of the opossum is not apparent to my sense.Burroughs, John
  14. fetor
    a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
    The air within it bore still more strongly the unpleasant fetor.Williamson, Jack
  15. foulness
    the attribute of having a strong offensive smell
    “There is,” said he, “ foulness in this pot of mustard.”Coster, Charles Th?odore Henri de
  16. fragrance
    a pleasingly sweet olfactory property
    He also added a few drops of bitters for fragrance.New York Times (Apr 13, 2012)
  17. fragrance
    a distinctive odor that is pleasant
    She gently unfastened a cord, and found attached to it a small phial carefully sealed, yet emitting a wondrous fragrance.Morgan, Louisa
  18. get a whiff
    smell strongly and intensely
    Calhoun, though, got a whiff of something strange, not scorched or burning vegetation at all.Leinster, Murray
  19. musk
    the scent of a greasy glandular secretion from the male musk deer
    The musk's fragrance cannot be concealed even if it is tied up in a cloth; so too your Godly nature cannot be kept hidden.K???ad?sa Kavir?ja Gosv?mi
  20. muskiness
    having the olfactory properties of musk
    The flavor is good, but the thick skin and muskiness in taste are objectionable.Hedrick, U. P.
  21. perfume
    a distinctive odor that is pleasant
    Blue-eyed, genial, bowing, a little too obsequious, he sometimes dabs perfume on his paint-messed hands.Bartlett, Paul Alexander
  22. rankness
    the attribute of having a strong offensive smell
    Carefully, prayerfully purify it, and subdue its rankness.Trowbridge, J. T. (John Townsend)
  23. redolence
    a pleasingly sweet olfactory property
    A lily field, which a month before had been solid white with blossoms, still added its redolence to the perfumed night air.Cummings, Ray
  24. smell
    smell bad
    Get away from me. You smell!
  25. stink
    smell badly and offensively
    The poster, of course, is a little grandiose: nobody cries stinking fish.Onions, Oliver
  26. stink
    a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
    The second said, "Let an additional stink be added to her breath."Various
  27. wind
    catch the scent of
    The king got wind of the plan to end his reign.
  28. malodorous
    having an unpleasant smell
    Stinking Bishop, for example, is relatively mild tasting, whereas super-strong Cheddars are rarely malodorous.
  29. odoriferous
    emitting a smell, especially an unpleasant smell
    Mr. Kline, the marketer, said that in focus groups, cat owners expressed concern that they had grown inured to the odoriferous.New York Times (Oct 7, 2010)

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