[ smel ]
/ smɛl /
verb (used with object), smelled or smelt, smell·ing.
to perceive the odor or scent of through the nose by means of the olfactory nerves; inhale the odor of: I smell something burning.
to test by the sense of smell: She smelled the meat to see if it was fresh.
to perceive, detect, or discover by shrewdness or sagacity: The detective smelled foul play.
verb (used without object), smelled or smelt, smell·ing.
to perceive something by its odor or scent.
to search or investigate (followed by around or about).
to give off or have an odor or scent: Do the yellow roses smell?
to give out an offensive odor; stink.
to have a particular odor (followed by of): My hands smell of fish.
to have a trace or suggestion (followed by of).
Informal. to be of inferior quality; stink: The play is good, but the direction smells.
Informal. to have the appearance or a suggestion of guilt or corruption: They may be honest, but the whole situation smells.
the sense of smell; faculty of smelling.
the quality of a thing that is or may be smelled; odor; scent.
a trace or suggestion.
an act or instance of smelling.
a pervading appearance, character, quality, or influence: the smell of money.
smell out, to look for or detect as if by smelling; search out: to smell out enemy spies.
smell up, to fill with an offensive odor; stink up: The garbage smelled up the yard.
Words nearby smell
Idioms for smell
smell a rat. rat(def 6).
Origin of smell
1125–75; early Middle English smell, smull (noun), smellen, smullen (v.) < ?
OTHER WORDS FROM smell
smell·a·ble, adjectivesmell-less, adjectiveout·smell, verb (used with object), out·smelled or out·smelt, out·smel·ling.un·smelled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for smell up
/ (smɛl) /
verb smells, smelling, smelt or smelled
(tr) to perceive the scent or odour of (a substance) by means of the olfactory nerves
(copula) to have a specified smell; appear to the sense of smell to bethe beaches smell of seaweed; some tobacco smells very sweet
(intr often foll by of) to emit an odour (of)the park smells of flowers
(intr) to emit an unpleasant odour; stink
(tr often foll by out) to detect through shrewdness or instinct
(intr) to have or use the sense of smell; sniff
(intr foll by of) to give indications (of)he smells of money
(intr; foll by around, about, etc) to search, investigate, or pry
(copula) to be or seem to be untrustworthy or corrupt
smell a rat to detect something suspicious
that sense (olfaction) by which scents or odours are perceivedRelated adjective: olfactory
anything detected by the sense of smell; odour; scent
a trace or indication
the act or an instance of smelling
Derived forms of smellsmeller, noun
Word Origin for smell
C12: of uncertain origin; compare Middle Dutch smölen to scorch
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
Medical definitions for smell up
[ smĕl ]
To perceive the scent of something by means of the olfactory nerves.
The sense by which odors are perceived; the olfactory sense.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Idioms and Phrases with smell up (1 of 2)
Also, stink up. Cause a bad odor, as in These onions smell up the whole house, or Your old sneakers are stinking up the closet; throw them out. [Mid-1900s]
Idioms and Phrases with smell up (2 of 2)
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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.