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smelling salts

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noun (used with a plural verb)
  1. a preparation for smelling, essentially of ammonium carbonate with some agreeable scent, used as a stimulant and restorative.
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Origin of smelling salts

First recorded in 1830–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for smelling salts

Historical Examples

  • Bracondale said, turning to them just as Miss Oliver returned with the bottle of smelling-salts.

    The White Lie

    William Le Queux

  • She leant back and fanned herself, taking out her smelling-salts.

    The Twelfth Hour

    Ada Leverson

  • Grace vanished again, and was back in two minutes with water and smelling-salts.

    Peggy

    Laura E. Richards

  • A woman has no right to have any emotions that cannot be cured by smelling-salts!

  • He took a bottle of smelling-salts from the mantelpiece and smelt it.


British Dictionary definitions for smelling salts

smelling salts

pl n
  1. a pungent preparation containing crystals of ammonium carbonate that has a stimulant action when sniffed in cases of faintness, headache, etc
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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

smelling salts in Medicine

smelling salts

(smĕlĭng)
pl.n.
  1. Any of various preparations of ammonium carbonate and perfume, sniffed as a restorative or stimulant especially to relieve faintness and headache.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.