Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To burn with little smoke and no flame.
  • intransitive verb To exist in a suppressed state.
  • intransitive verb To show signs of repressed anger or hatred.
  • noun Thick smoke resulting from a slow fire.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun Slow or suppressed combustion; smoke; smother.

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

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

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

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

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

  • noun a fire that burns with thick smoke but no flame
  • verb have strong suppressed feelings
  • verb burn slowly and without a flame

Etymologies

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

[Middle English smolderen, to suffocate, from smolder, smoke, probably alteration of smorther, from Old English smorian, to smoke.]

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

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

    The Gazette-Enterprise: News

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

    The Gazette-Enterprise: News

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

    The Gazette-Enterprise: News

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

    The Gazette-Enterprise: News

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

    The Gazette-Enterprise: News

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

    The Gazette-Enterprise: News

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

    The Gazette-Enterprise: News

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

    The Gazette-Enterprise: News

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