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
ThesaurusThesaurus
Thesaurus diagram

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
noun     smell pronunciation in American English
/smel/
Word Forms
Close
singularsmell
pluralsmells
  1. 1
    [countable] the pleasant or unpleasant quality of something that you notice when you breathe in through your nose

    This paint gives off a very strong smell.

    smell of:

    There’s a delicious smell of fresh bread coming from the kitchen.

    1. a.
      an unpleasant smell

      Whatever is that smell?

      Synonyms and related words
    See also aroma
  2. 2
    [uncountable] the ability to notice or recognize smells

    Some experts can tell by smell alone what ingredients are in a dish.

    sense of smell:

    Dogs have an excellent sense of smell.

  3. 3
    [countable] [usually singular] an instance of smelling something

    Take a smell of this perfume.

  4. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    4
    pass the smell test to be morally acceptable

    Robinson's removal as an independent investigator doesn't pass the smell test, and many believe it was done for political reasons.

    Submitted by Boris Marchenko from Russian Federation on 11/05/2017
 
BuzzWord

gaslight

to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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
Macmillan learn live love play