Definitions

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

  • noun The sense, located in the nasal cavities of mammals and relying on the olfactory nerves, by which molecules borne in a fluid such as air can be perceived; the olfactory sense.
  • noun A similar sense in other animals, as insects' ability to perceive air-borne molecules with their antennae.
  • noun The act or an instance of smelling.
  • noun A quality of something that is perceived by the sense of smell; an odor.
  • noun A distinctive enveloping or characterizing quality; an aura or trace.
  • intransitive verb To perceive (an odor) by the sense of smell.
  • intransitive verb To perceive or detect (something) by a chemosensory organ, such as an antenna.
  • intransitive verb To inhale the air near (something); sniff.
  • intransitive verb To detect or discover, as by intuition or inference.
  • intransitive verb To use the sense of smell.
  • intransitive verb To sniff.
  • intransitive verb To have or emit an odor.
  • intransitive verb To have or emit an unpleasant odor; stink.
  • intransitive verb To be suggestive; have a touch of something.
  • intransitive verb To appear to be dishonest or corrupt.
  • idiom (smell a rat) To suspect that something is wrong.
  • idiom (smell blood) To sense an opportunity for advantage at someone else's expense.
  • idiom (smell the roses) To spend time in leisurely enjoyment.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The faculty of perceiving by the nose; senseperception through the olfactory nerves; the olfactory faculty or function; the physiological process or function whereby certain odoriferous qualities of bodies, as scent or effluvium, are perceived and recognized through sensation; olfaction; scent; often with the definite article, as one of the special senses: as, the smell in dogs is keen.
  • noun That quality of anything which is or may be smelled; an odoriferous effluvium; an odor or scent, whether agreeable or offensive; a fragrance, perfume, or stench; aroma: as, the smell of thyme; the smell of bilge-water.
  • noun A faint impression; a subtle suggestion; a hint; a trace: as, the poem has a smell of the woods.
  • noun An act of smelling: as, he took a smell at the bottle.
  • To perceive through the nose, by means of the olfactory nerves; perceive the scent of; scent; nose.
  • To perceive as if by smell; perceive in any way; especially, to detect by peculiar sagacity or a sort of instinct; smell out.
  • To inhale the smell or odor of; test by the sense of smell: oftener intransitive, with of or at.
  • To give out an odor; affect the olfactory sense: as, the rose smells sweet.
  • Specifically, to give out an offensive odor: as, how the place smells!
  • To have an odor (of a specified kind); be scented with: with of: as, to smell of roses.
  • Figuratively, to appear to be of a certain nature or character, as indicated by the smell: generally followed by like or of.
  • To inhale a smell or odor as a gratification or as a test of kind or quality, etc.: colloquially with of, formerly sometimes with to or unto.
  • To snuff; try to smell something; figuratively, to try to smell out something: generally with about: as, to go smelling about.

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

  • transitive verb To perceive by the olfactory nerves, or organs of smell; to have a sensation of, excited through the nasal organs when affected by the appropriate materials or qualities; to obtain the scent of.
  • transitive verb To detect or perceive, as if by the sense of smell; to scent out; -- often with out.
  • transitive verb obsolete To give heed to.
  • transitive verb [Colloq.] to have a sense of something wrong, not clearly evident; to have reason for suspicion.
  • transitive verb [Colloq.] to find out by sagacity.
  • noun (Physiol.) The sense or faculty by which certain qualities of bodies are perceived through the instrumentally of the olfactory nerves. See sense.
  • noun The quality of any thing or substance, or emanation therefrom, which affects the olfactory organs; odor; scent; fragrance; perfume.
  • intransitive verb To affect the olfactory nerves; to have an odor or scent; -- often followed by of.
  • intransitive verb To have a particular tincture or smack of any quality; to savor.
  • intransitive verb To exercise the sense of smell.
  • intransitive verb To exercise sagacity.

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

  • noun A sensation, pleasant or unpleasant, detected by inhaling air (or, the case of water-breathing animals, water) carrying airborne molecules of a substance.
  • noun physiology The sense that detects odours.
  • verb transitive To sense a smell or smells.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English smel, of unknown origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English smellen, smillen, smyllen, smullen, from Old English *smyllan, *smiellan (“to smell, emit fumes”), from Proto-Germanic *smuljanan, *smaljanan (“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 German Low German smölen ("smoulder")), 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 смола (smola, "resin, tar"). Compare smoulder, smother.

Examples

  • Tom- Just went back and read your review of Oud 27 and have put it in my list of 'to smell'..though right now Arabian Oud's King Fahed is what I am dying to smell!

    Top 10 of Spring and a Prize Draw

  • * We swap pjs, his are still warm and smell like cigarette smoke mixed with fresh masculine smell*

    sierrazen Diary Entry

  • Among senses, smell was the strongest: —smell of hot pine-woods and sweet-fern in the scorching summer noon; of new-mown hay; of ploughed earth; of box hedges; of peaches, lilacs, syringes; of stables, barns, cow-yards; of salt water and low tide on the marshes; nothing came amiss.

    Quincy (1838–1848)

  • Your writing might be kinda sweet, delicately nuanced, quite lovely to many, but if it's based on hers all she's gonna smell is the stuff you've done to it that's just plain wrong, far as she's concerned.

    Fanfiction

  • Your writing might be kinda sweet, delicately nuanced, quite lovely to many, but if it's based on hers all she's gonna smell is the stuff you've done to it that's just plain wrong, far as she's concerned.

    Archive 2010-05-01

  • Too much riffraff in this mall, the riff raff needs to take showers, baths, the smell is awful.

    Matthew Yglesias » Rich Lawyers Boosting Traffic Jams and Calling It Charity

  • I can smell a smoker for hundreds of yards and know exactly what the smell is as it hits my nose, I'm sure an old buck does the same.

    My brother and I have been hunting for years together.

  • I can smell a smoker for hundreds of yards and know exactly what the smell is as it hits my nose, I'm sure an old buck does the same.

    My brother and I have been hunting for years together.

  • The Cat Genie doesn't always get all the solid waste and when it doesn't, the smell is a little annoying when you clean again.

    Thoughts: The Cat Genie (Self Flushing Litter Box)

  • Honestly, the smell is almost intolerable to me - it's very citrusy, but incredibly so, with only 3 flowers (another 12 flower buds are on their way), and the thing wafts at you from a good 6 feet away, plus.

    12/02/2005

Comments

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  • does anyone know wht olfaction means ?????????

    August 21, 2011