verb (used with object), smelled or smelt, smell·ing.
verb (used without object), smelled or smelt, smell·ing.
Origin of smell
Synonyms for smell
Related Words for smellstink, trace, whiff, bouquet, aroma, flavor, perfume, scent, stench, breathe, inhale, sniff, detect, trail, savor, essence, emanation, incense, tang, fragrance
Examples from the Web for smell
Contemporary Examples of smell
There is the smell here of an indecent rush for scapegoats, even before we know what really caused this crash.Annoying Airport Delays Might Prevent You From Becoming the Next AirAsia 8501
January 6, 2015
The smell of grilled meat mixes with the exotic wafts of cinnamon tea served with a mush of sweet brown dessert.The Photographer Who Gave Up Manhattan for Marrakech
January 6, 2015
“J.W. heard Hayden say softly, ‘You smell good,’” the papers report.Rape, Lies & Videotape in Ferguson
November 18, 2014
“They see the crowds, they smell the hot dogs,” said Dolan, playing out the metaphor.Pope Francis Wins a Battle to Welcome Gays in the Church
Barbie Latza Nadeau
October 20, 2014
I could smell the patchouli oil he was wearing as well as the incense that was burning in the studio.When Gary Wright Met George Harrison: Dream Weaver, John and Yoko, and More
September 29, 2014
Historical Examples of smell
Then came smoke, the smell of scorching linen, and a cry of horror from Celine.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
For in those days men could smell weather quite as well as the other animals.
There was a smell of cooking, and the people gathering between the huts.
He could smell Indians in hiding and wood smoke three leagues away.
But Colley ain't no good on Diablo, an' if he can smell Shandy, that settles it—it's all over.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
verb smells, smelling, smelt or smelled
Word Origin for smell
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.
In addition to the idioms beginning with smell
- smell a rat
- smell fishy
- smell to high heaven
- smell up
- come up (smelling like) roses
- stink (smell) to high heaven