Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To burn with little smoke and no flame.
  • intransitive v. To exist in a suppressed state: Revolution smoldered in the masses.
  • intransitive v. To show signs of repressed anger or hatred.
  • n. Thick smoke resulting from a slow fire.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To burn with no flame and little smoke.
  • v. To show signs of repressed anger or suppressed mental turmoil or other strong emotion, such as passion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Smoke; smother.
  • intransitive v. To burn and smoke without flame; to waste away by a slow and supressed combustion.
  • intransitive v. To exist in a state of suppressed or smothered activity; to burn inwardly.
  • transitive v. To smother; to suffocate; to choke.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To burn and smoke without flame; be smothery.
  • Hence To exist in a suppressed state; burn inwardly, without outward demonstration as a thought, passion, and the like.
  • To suffocate; smother.
  • To discolor by the action of fire.
  • n. Slow or suppressed combustion; smoke; smother.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a fire that burns with thick smoke but no flame
  • v. have strong suppressed feelings
  • v. burn slowly and without a flame

Etymologies

Middle English smolderen, to suffocate, from smolder, smoke, probably alteration of smorther, from Old English smorian, to smoke.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • It was chock-a-block full of interesting articles on geckos and eerily iridescent photos of deep-sea jellyfish, but for some reason the World magazines piled up in the corner until ones on the bottom began to smolder from the pressure of the magazines on the top.

    The Day The World Became Shut To Me

  • They can kind of smolder and cause a fire later, and people might not even know they started a fire.

    The Gazette-Enterprise: News

  • I'll read the next books because I kind of have to, working with middle / high schoolers in a professional capacity, but if I see the words "smolder" or "dizzy" or "hyperventilate" or

    FlickFilosopher.com

  • The color seemed to smolder like smoke, a mist of gray and silver.

    Darkness Becomes Her

  • Flames caught more slowly than usual, but then sank deep, burning away my skin and clothes, then slowing to a smolder when they hit the muscle underneath.

    Crossed

  • Coals smolder at the bottom, and warm steam rises.

    Holocaust Red | SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles

  • He backed across the hall, guiding me as if we were dancing, and the fuse continued to smolder, its flame caressing me as he guided us to the couch.

    Arcane Circle

  • Buildings and police vehicles still smolder from the previous night's riots, and more smoke plumes are rising above the city.

    No End in Sight for Protests in Egypt

  • As a result, the circuit board may smolder and possibly catch fire.

    Auto Makers Recall 500,000 Vehicles

  • While popular discontent is not at a high pitch as it was after the June 2009 presidential election, the fundamental conflict between citizens and dictators continues to smolder.

    Behind the Islamic Republic's Bluster

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