Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

smell - definition and synonyms

 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
verb smell pronunciation in American English /smel/
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theysmell
he/she/itsmells
present participlesmelling
past tensesmelled or smelt
past participlesmelled or smelt
  1. 1
    [linking verb] to have a particular smell
    This room smells a little damp.
    a strong-smelling perfume
    This milk smells off (=no longer fresh).
    smell of: The laboratory smelled strongly of chemicals.
    smell like: It smells like a bar in here.
    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      [intransitive] [never progressive] to have an unpleasant smell
      His feet really smell.
      Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    [transitive] [never progressive] to notice or recognize the smell of something
    Sasha could smell the sweet aroma of warm chocolate.
    Do you smell gas?
  3. 3
    [transitive] to experience the smell of something by putting your nose close to it
    Come and smell these roses.
    Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    [intransitive] [never progressive] to be able to experience the smell of things
    I can’t smell at all with this cold.
    Synonyms and related words
  5. 5
    [transitive] to feel that something is going to happen, usually something bad
    smell danger/trouble: I could just smell trouble in that club.
  6. 6
    [intransitive] to be illegal or dishonest
    I can’t put my finger on it, but something about this deal really smells.
    Synonyms and related words

phrases

phrasal verbs

JOMO

… a feeling of pleasure you get from spending time doing what you want and not worrying about what other people are doing or saying

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day

Mardi Gras

shrove tuesday

Open Dictionary

brain fade

a temporary inability to think clearly or remember information

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog