Definition of smell noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//smel//
    ; NAmE NAmE//smel//
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  1. 1  [countable, uncountable] the quality of something that people and animals sense through their noses a faint/strong smell of garlic a sweet/fresh/musty smell There was a smell of burning in the air. The smells from the kitchen filled the room. Vocabulary BuildingSmellsDescribing smellsThese adjectives describe pleasant smells: scented candles aromatic oils fragrant perfume sweet-smelling flowersTo describe unpleasant smells you can use: smelly cheese stinking fish musty old books acrid smokeTypes of smellPleasant smells: the rich aroma of fresh coffee a herb with a delicate fragrance a rose’s sweet perfume the scent of wild flowersUnpleasant smells: nasty household odours the stench of rotting meat the stink of stale sweat the reek of beer and tobacco
  2. 2  [singular] an unpleasant smell What's that smell? Yuk! What a smell!
  3. 3  [uncountable] the ability to sense things with the nose Dogs have a very good sense of smell. Taste and smell are closely connected.
  4. 4[countable] the act of smelling something synonym sniff He took one smell of the liquid and his eyes began to water.
  5. Word OriginMiddle English: of unknown origin.Extra examples A delicious smell of freshly baked bread wafted across the lawn. An acrid smell filled the air. As she walked into the house she detected the smell of gas. Cooking smells drifted up from the kitchen. Deer have a keen sense of smell. Fragrance dispensers are designed to mask unpleasant smells. The air was filled with a pervasive smell of chemicals. The cottage had a musty smell after being shut up over the winter. The faint smell of her perfume hung in the air. The sights, sounds and smells of Delhi stunned me. The skunk gives off an unpleasant smell when attacked. The smell was coming from the kitchen. Then the pungent smell hit us—rotting fish and seaweed. There was an overpowering smell of burning rubber. What’s that funny smell? the aromatic smells of a spring garden full of herbs the putrid smell from the slaughterhouse the smell of smoke the sour smell of unwashed linen the sweet smell of roses Do you like the smell of coffee? See if you can get rid of that smell. The smell of burning stubble drifted through the air. There was a musty smell in the attic. There was an unmistakable smell of alcohol on his breath. What a terrible smell! Wonderful cooking smells were coming from the kitchen.Idioms
    the sweet smell of success
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    (informal) the pleasant feeling of being successful
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: smell