From Middle English smellen, smillen, smyllen, smullen, from Old English *smyllan, *smiellan (“to smell, emit fumes”), from Proto-Germanic *smuljaną, *smaljaną (“to glow, burn, smoulder”), from Proto-Indo-European *smelə- (“to burn, smoke, smoulder; tar, pitch”). The noun is from Middle English smel, smil, smul (“smell, odour”). Related to Middle Dutch smōlen (“to burn, smoulder”) (whence Dutch smeulen (“to smoulder”)), Middle Low German smölen (“to be hazy, be dusty”) (whence Low German smölen (“smoulder”)), Low German smullen (“emit smoke”), West Flemish smoel (“stuffy, muggy, hazy”), Danish smul (“dust, powder”), Lithuanian smilkyti (“to incense, fumigate”), Lithuanian smilkti (“to smudge, smolder, fume, reek”), Lithuanian smalkinti (“to fume”), Middle Irish smál, smól, smúal (“fire, gleed, embers, ashes”), Russian смола́ (smolá, “resin, tar”). Compare smoulder, smother.
- A sensation, pleasant or unpleasant, detected by inhaling air (or, the case of water-breathing animals, water) carrying airborne molecules of a substance.
- I love the smell of fresh bread.
- 1908, Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
- The penetrating smell of cabbage reached the nose of Toad as he lay prostrate in his misery on the floor, and gave him the idea for a moment that perhaps life was not such a blank and desperate thing as he had imagined. But still he wailed, and kicked with his legs, and refused to be comforted. So the wise girl retired for the time, but, of course, a good deal of the smell of hot cabbage remained behind, as it will do, and Toad, between his sobs, sniffed and reflected, and gradually began to think new and inspiring thoughts: of chivalry, and poetry...
- (physiology) The sense that detects odours.
- Adjectives often applied to "smell": sweet, good, nice, great, pleasant, fresh, fragrant, bad, foul, unpleasant, horrible, terrible, awful, nasty, disgusting, funny, strange, odd, sour, funky, metallic, stinky, rotten, rancid, putrid, rank, fishy.
- (sense): olfaction (in technical use), sense of smell
- See also Wikisaurus:smell
- (transitive) To sense a smell or smells.
- I can smell fresh bread.
- Smell the milk and tell me whether it's gone off.
- (intransitive) To have a particular smell, whether good or bad; if descriptive, followed by "like" or "of".
- The roses smell lovely.
- Her feet smell of cheese.
- The drunkard smelt like a brewery.
- (intransitive, without a modifier) To smell bad; to stink.
- Ew, this stuff smells.
- (intransitive, figuratively) To have a particular tincture or smack of any quality; to savour.
- A report smells of calumny.
- John Milton
- Praises in an enemy are superfluous, or smell of craft.
- (obsolete) To exercise sagacity.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
- To detect or perceive; often with out.
- I smell a device.
- (obsolete) To give heed to.
- From that time forward I began to smell the Word of God, and forsook the school doctors.
The sense "to smell bad, stink" is considered by some to be an incorrect substitute for stink.
- (sense a smell or smells): detect, sense
- (have the smell of): (all followed by like or of)
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
- smell in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
- smell in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- second-person singular imperative of smella
From the verb smelle
- a bang (sudden loud noise)
- “smell” in The Bokmål Dictionary.