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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for smoldering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The accursed thing had sprung out of the smoldering floor without warning.

    Red Nails Robert E. Howard
  • The brand Jas' had hurled was smoldering on Boyd's blankets.

    Ride Proud, Rebel! Andre Alice Norton
  • The evening wore away and Dr. and Mrs. Nesbit were alone by the ashes in the smoldering fire in the grate.

    In the Heart of a Fool William Allen White
  • He pushed a smoldering log with his foot toward the remnants of the embers.

    The Strollers Frederic S. Isham
  • He was preparing dinner, the preliminary step being a stirring of the smoldering camp-fire, which gave forth the tell-tale smoke.

    Camp-fire and Wigwam Edward Sylvester Ellis
British Dictionary definitions for smoldering


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 smoldering



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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