from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of, relating to, or contributing to the sense of smell.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Making or causing to smell; effecting or otherwise pertaining to olfaction; having the sense of smell or providing for the exercise of that faculty: as, an olfactory organ.
  • noun The organ of smell; the nose as an olfactory organ: usually in the plural.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An olfactory organ; also, the sense of smell; -- usually in the plural.
  • adjective (Physiol.) Of, pertaining to, or connected with, the sense of smell
  • adjective (Anat.) an organ for smelling. In vertebrates the olfactory organs are more or less complicated sacs, situated in the front part of the head and lined with epithelium innervated by the olfactory (or first cranial) nerves, and sensitive to odoriferous particles conveyed to it in the air or in water.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Concerning the sense of smell.
  • noun An olfactory organ.
  • noun The sense of smell.

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

  • adjective of or relating to olfaction


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

[Latin olfactōrius, used to sniff at, from olfactus, past participle of olfacere, to smell : olēre, to smell + facere, to do; see fact.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin olfactorius, from olfactus, present participle of olfaciō ("I sniff"), from oleō + faciō.


  • Some interesting things about our sense of smell: According to wikipedia, it is our accessory olfactory system (as opposed to the main olfactory system) that smells the fluid-phase chemicals.

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  • In the first study to examine living nerve cells from patients with psychiatric disease, scientists from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, the University of Pennsylvania, and collaborating institutions report altered nerve cell function in olfactory receptor neurons from patients with bipolar disorder.

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  • Similar to a visuospatial sketchpad where the brain briefly stores images, this function can be likened to an olfactory flacon (the French word for flask, often used to describe a vessel for perfume), where the brain briefly stores odors.

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  • Probably carcinogenic, but the olfactory was the sense most closely linked to memory, so it was worth it for the nostalgia hit.

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  • In the mammalian nose, smelling takes place in tissue called the olfactory epithelium.

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  • In the mammalian nose, smelling takes place in tissue called the olfactory epithelium.


  • It does seem to have, it's so rare, that it's hard to say that there's a characteristic pattern, where, you know, some people may actually sort of get it into their nose and subsequently sort of travels along a nerve called the olfactory nerve, all the way back into their brain.

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  • For a long time, it has been known that the olfactory receptor cells are located far up in the nose, and that they send their thin neural processes through small canals in the bone directly to the part of the brain called the olfactory bulb.

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  • These cells, called olfactory receptor neurons, are located just inside the nose, and are similar in many ways to cells within the brain, but are easier and safer to get to.

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  • Why do new factories smell better than old factories?

    February 15, 2007

  • Others having broken the stems of their pipes almost short off at the bowl, were vigorously puffing tobacco-smoke, so that it constantly filled their olfactories.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 91

    July 29, 2008