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.

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
Related formsscent·less, adjectivescent·less·ness, nounnon·scent·ed, adjectiveout·scent, verb (used with object)o·ver·scent·ed, adjectiveun·scent·ed, adjectivewell-scent·ed, adjective
Can be confusedcents scents sense

Synonyms for scent

1. See odor. 7. smell, sniff. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scented

Contemporary Examples of scented

Historical Examples of scented

  • She lay awake, gazing into the scented darkness, her arms under her head.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The quicker wit of the young woman first scented his meaning.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Hence that scented little cat with whom he had lived for the past year.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • Some scented tree was in bloom and the air was full of its soft fragrance.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • They stood shoulder to shoulder in the scented stillness of the night.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

British Dictionary definitions for scented



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 scented

1570s, "endowed with the power of smell;" 1740, "perfumed," past participle adjective from scent (v.).



late 14c., sent "to find the scent of," from Old French sentir "to feel, smell, touch, taste; realize, perceive; make love to," from Latin sentire " to feel, perceive, sense, discern, hear, see" (see sense (n.)).

Originally a hunting term. The -c- appeared 17c., perhaps by influence of ascent, descent, etc., or by influence of science. This was a tendency in early Modern English, cf. scythe, and also scite, scituate. Figurative use from 1550s. Transitive sense "impregnate with an odor, perfume" is from 1690s. Related: Scented; scenting.



late 14c., "scent, smell, what can be smelled" (as a means of pursuit by a hound), from scent (v.). Almost always applied to agreeable odors.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with scented


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.