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or smoulder

[smohl-der] /ˈsmoʊl dər/
verb (used without object)
to burn without flame; undergo slow or suppressed combustion.
to exist or continue in a suppressed state or without outward demonstration:
Hatred smoldered beneath a polite surface.
to display repressed feelings, as of indignation, anger, or the like:
to smolder with rage.
dense smoke resulting from slow or suppressed combustion.
a smoldering fire.
Origin of smolder
1275-1325; (noun) Middle English smolder smoky vapor, dissimilated variant of smorther smother; (v.) Middle English (as present participle smolderende), derivative of the noun
Related forms
unsmoldering, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for smoldered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In his eyes an underglow, so to call it, smoldered with fascinating vagueness.

    Eleven Possible Cases Frank R. Stockton
  • This was the temperament that smoldered in him: the lurking flame that he had to live with daily.

    The Crow's Nest Clarence Day, Jr.
  • These smoldered until the storms of '48 fanned them into a fitful blaze.

    Our Foreigners Samuel P. Orth
  • Burnt down, smoldered; suffocated by the hateful dust of the commonplace.

    Different Girls

  • He smoldered inside, and he laid it to the stir and bustle and noise.

    Poor Man's Rock Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • The camp-fire had smoldered as though it had not been replenished for hours.

    In the Pecos Country Edward Sylvester Ellis (AKA Lieutenant R.H. Jayne)
  • Then for a second Sam's kind eyes sank down deep into mine and smoldered there.

    Over Paradise Ridge Maria Thompson Daviess
  • "It'll fill dinner-pails and give babies mother's milk," said Sam, as he sat beside me and smoldered out over his crop.

    Over Paradise Ridge Maria Thompson Daviess
British Dictionary definitions for smoldered


verb, noun
the US spelling of smoulder
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for smoldered



c.1300 (implied in smoldering), "to smother, suffocate," related to Middle Dutch smolen, Low German smelen, Flemish smoel "hot," from Proto-Germanic *smel-, *smul-. The intransitive meaning "burn and smoke without flame" is first recorded 1520s, fell from use 17c. (though smoldering persisted in poetry) and was revived 19c. Figurative sense "exist in a suppressed state; burn inwardly" is from 1810. Related: Smouldered; smolderingly. Middle English also had a noun smolder meaning "smoky vapor, a stifling smoke."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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