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Noun of action from Latin olfacere (to smell (trans.)), from olere (to emit a smell) (see odor) + facere (to make) (see factitious).[1]


olfactic (comparative more olfactic, superlative most olfactic)

  1. Referring to the olfactory senses or the sense of smell.

Usage notesEdit

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Both "olfactic" and "olfactive" refer to the action of smelling, "olfaction". "Olfactic" refers more to the characteristic of the smell (that is, the smell coming off of the thing smelled); it concerns the product that is smelled. "Olfactive" refers more to the characteristic of the action of smelling; it focuses on the act or process of the smelling. Thus, "an olfactic description of a bouquet of flowers" is opposed to a visual description, whereas "the olfactive impairment of a cold" is the fact your ability to smell is inhibited.


  1. ^ olfaction” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2018.