• synonyms


or smoul·der

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verb (used without object)
  1. to burn without flame; undergo slow or suppressed combustion.
  2. to exist or continue in a suppressed state or without outward demonstration: Hatred smoldered beneath a polite surface.
  3. to display repressed feelings, as of indignation, anger, or the like: to smolder with rage.
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  1. dense smoke resulting from slow or suppressed combustion.
  2. a smoldering fire.
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Origin of smolder

1275–1325; (noun) Middle English smolder smoky vapor, dissimilated variant of smorther smother; (v.) Middle English (as present participle smolderende), derivative of the noun
Related formsun·smol·der·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for smoldering

explode, fester, erupt, seethe, boil, consume, bubble, fume, fulminate, smoke, ferment, churn, stir, steam

Examples from the Web for smoldering

Contemporary Examples of smoldering

Historical Examples of smoldering

British Dictionary definitions for smoldering


verb, noun
  1. the US spelling of smoulder
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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

Word Origin and History for smoldering



c.1300 (implied in smoldering), "to smother, suffocate," related to Middle Dutch smolen, Low German smelen, Flemish smoel "hot," from Proto-Germanic *smel-, *smul-. The intransitive meaning "burn and smoke without flame" is first recorded 1520s, fell from use 17c. (though smoldering persisted in poetry) and was revived 19c. Figurative sense "exist in a suppressed state; burn inwardly" is from 1810. Related: Smouldered; smolderingly. Middle English also had a noun smolder meaning "smoky vapor, a stifling smoke."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper