American English

Definition of smell noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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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.
  2. 2[singular] an unpleasant smell What's that smell? Yuck! 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. Vocabulary Buildingsmellsdescribing smellsThese adjectives describe pleasant smells: scented candles aromatic oils fragrant perfume sweet-smelling flowersTo describe unpleasant smells you can use: smelly cheese stinky fish musty old books acrid smoketypes of smellsPleasant smells: the rich aroma of fresh coffee an herb with a delicate fragrance a rose’s sweet perfume the scent of wildflowersUnpleasant smells: nasty household odors the stench of rotting meat the stink of stale sweat the reek of beer and tobaccoIdioms
    the sweet smell of success (informal)
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    the pleasant feeling of being successful
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: smell