- to perceive the odor or scent of through the nose by means of the olfactory nerves; inhale the odor of: I smell something burning.
- to test by the sense of smell: She smelled the meat to see if it was fresh.
- to perceive, detect, or discover by shrewdness or sagacity: The detective smelled foul play.
- to perceive something by its odor or scent.
- to search or investigate (followed by around or about).
- to give off or have an odor or scent: Do the yellow roses smell?
- to give out an offensive odor; stink.
- to have a particular odor (followed by of): My hands smell of fish.
- to have a trace or suggestion (followed by of).
- Informal. to be of inferior quality; stink: The play is good, but the direction smells.
- Informal. to have the appearance or a suggestion of guilt or corruption: They may be honest, but the whole situation smells.
- the sense of smell; faculty of smelling.
- the quality of a thing that is or may be smelled; odor; scent.
- a trace or suggestion.
- an act or instance of smelling.
- a pervading appearance, character, quality, or influence: the smell of money.
- smell out, to look for or detect as if by smelling; search out: to smell out enemy spies.
- smell up, to fill with an offensive odor; stink up: The garbage smelled up the yard.
- smell a rat. rat(def 6).
Origin of smell
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- (tr) to perceive the scent or odour of (a substance) by means of the olfactory nerves
- (copula) to have a specified smell; appear to the sense of smell to bethe beaches smell of seaweed; some tobacco smells very sweet
- (intr often foll by of) to emit an odour (of)the park smells of flowers
- (intr) to emit an unpleasant odour; stink
- (tr often foll by out) to detect through shrewdness or instinct
- (intr) to have or use the sense of smell; sniff
- (intr foll by of) to give indications (of)he smells of money
- (intr; foll by around, about, etc) to search, investigate, or pry
- (copula) to be or seem to be untrustworthy or corrupt
- smell a rat to detect something suspicious
- that sense (olfaction) by which scents or odours are perceivedRelated adjective: olfactory
- anything detected by the sense of smell; odour; scent
- a trace or indication
- the act or an instance of smelling
Word Origin and History for smellable
late 12c., "emit or perceive an odor," not found in Old English, perhaps cognate with Middle Dutch smolen, Low German smelen "to smolder" (see smolder). However, OED says "no doubt of Old English origin, but not recorded, and not represented in any of the cognate languages." Related: Smelled or smelt; smelling.
Smelling salts (1840), used to revive the woozy, typically were a scented preparation of carbonate of ammonia. Smell-feast (n.) "one who finds and frequents good tables, one who scents out where free food is to be had" is from 1510s ("very common" c.1540-1700, OED). Smell-smock "licentious man" was in use c.1550-c.1900. To smell a rat "be suspicious" is from 1540s.
- To perceive the scent of something by means of the olfactory nerves.
- The sense by which odors are perceived; the olfactory sense.