Definition of smell verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



1 [intransitive] to have a particular smell + adjectiveThe room smelled damp.Dinner smells good.a bunch of sweet-smelling flowers smell of somethingHis breath smelled of garlic.The house smelled of cedar wood and fresh polish. smell like somethingWhat does the perfume smell like?2 [transitive, no passive] (not used in the progressive tenses; often with can or could) to notice or recognize a particular smell smell somethingHe said he could smell gas when he entered the room.The dog had smelled a rabbit.I could smell alcohol on his breath. smell something doing somethingCan you smell something burning? smell (that)…I could smell that something was burning.3 [transitive] smell something (not usually used in the passive) to put your nose near something and breathe in so that you can discover or identify its smell synonym sniffSmell this and tell me what you think it is.I bent down to smell the flowers.4 [intransitive] (not used in the progressive tenses; often with can or could) to be able to notice and recognize smellsI can't smell because I have a bad cold.4 [intransitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) to have an unpleasant smellThe drains smell.It smells in here.He hadn't washed for days and was beginning to smell.5 [transitive, no passive] smell something to feel that something exists or is going to happenHe smelled danger.I can smell trouble.IDIOMS

come up/out of something smelling like roses/a rose

(informal) to still have a good reputation, even though you have been involved in something that might have given people a bad opinion of youNobody ever knew the details and he came out of the deal smelling like a rose.come up of smelling like roses/a rosecome out of smelling like roses/a rose

smell a rat

(informal) to suspect that something is wrong about a situationsmell a rat

wake up and smell the coffee

(informal) (usually in orders) used to tell someone to become aware of what is really happening in a situation, especially when this is something unpleasantwake up and smell the coffee

smell someone/somethingout

1 to be aware of fear, danger, trouble, etc. in a situationHe could always smell out fear.2 to find something by smellingdogs trained to smell out drugssmell out