verb (used with object), smelled or smelt, smell·ing.
verb (used without object), smelled or smelt, smell·ing.
Origin of smell
Synonyms for smell
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.
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]
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