(smelled or smelt; smelling)
Etymology: Middle English
Date: 12th century
1. to perceive the odor or scent of through stimuli affecting the olfactory nerves ; get the odor or scent of with the nose
2. to detect or become aware of as if by the sense of smell <I smell trouble> 3. to emit the odor of intransitive verb 1. to exercise the sense of smell 2. a. (1) to have an odor or scent (2) to have a characteristic aura or atmosphere ; smack <the accounts…seemed to me to smell of truth — R. S. Bourne>; also seem, appear <the story didn't smell right> b. (1) to have an offensive odor ; stink (2) to be of bad or questionable quality <all this from the moral point of view smells — A. F. Wills> • smeller noun II. noun Date: 12th century 1. the property of a thing that affects the olfactory organs ; odor 2. a. the process, function, or power of smelling b. the sense concerned with the perception of odor 3. a. a very small amount ; trace <add only a smell of garlic> b. a pervading or characteristic quality ; aura <the smell of affluence, of power — Harry Hervey> 4. an act or instance of smelling Synonyms: smell, scent, odor, aroma mean the quality that makes a thing perceptible to the olfactory sense. smell implies solely the sensation without suggestion of quality or character <an odd smell permeated the room>. scent applies to the characteristic smell given off by a substance, an animal, or a plant <the scent of lilacs>. odor may imply a stronger or more readily distinguished scent or it may be equivalent to smell <a cheese with a strong odor>. aroma suggests a somewhat penetrating usually pleasant odor <the aroma of freshly ground coffee>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.