verb (used with object)

to perceive or recognize by or as if by the sense of smell: to scent trouble.
to fill with an odor; perfume.

verb (used without object)

to hunt by the sense of smell, as a hound.

Nearby words

  1. scenic,
  2. scenic railway,
  3. scenic reserve,
  4. scenographic,
  5. scenography,
  6. scent gland,
  7. scent mark,
  8. scent-mark,
  9. scented,
  10. scented orchid

Origin of scent

1325–75; (v.) earlier sent, Middle English senten < Middle French sentir to smell < Latin sentīre to feel; (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v. Cf. sense

1. See odor. 7. smell, sniff.

Related forms
Can be confusedcents scents sense Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scent

British Dictionary definitions for scent



a distinctive smell, esp a pleasant one
a smell left in passing, by which a person or animal may be traced
a trail, clue, or guide
an instinctive ability for finding out or detecting
another word (esp Brit) for perfume


(tr) to recognize or be aware of by or as if by the smell
(tr) to have a suspicion of; detectI scent foul play
(tr) to fill with odour or fragrance
(intr) (of hounds, etc) to hunt by the sense of smell
to smell (at)the dog scented the air
Derived Formsscented, adjectivescentless, adjectivescentlessness, noun

Word Origin for scent

C14: from Old French sentir to sense, from Latin sentīre to feel; see sense

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

Word Origin and History for scent
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with scent


see throw off, def. 3.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.