verb (used with object), smelled or smelt, smelling.
to perceive the odor or scent of through the nose by means of the olfactory nerves; inhale the odor of:
I smell something burning.
to test by the sense of smell:
She smelled the meat to see if it was fresh.
to perceive, detect, or discover by shrewdness or sagacity:
The detective smelled foul play.
verb (used without object), smelled or smelt, smelling.
to perceive something by its odor or scent.
to search or investigate (followed by around or about).
to give off or have an odor or scent:
Do the yellow roses smell?
to give out an offensive odor; stink.
to have a particular odor (followed by of):
My hands smell of fish.
to have a trace or suggestion (followed by of).
Informal. to be of inferior quality; stink:
The play is good, but the direction smells.
Informal. to have the appearance or a suggestion of guilt or corruption:
They may be honest, but the whole situation smells.
the sense of smell; faculty of smelling.
the quality of a thing that is or may be smelled; odor; scent.
a trace or suggestion.
an act or instance of smelling.
a pervading appearance, character, quality, or influence:
the smell of money.
smell out, to look for or detect as if by smelling; search out:
to smell out enemy spies.
smell up, to fill with an offensive odor; stink up:
The garbage smelled up the yard.
smell a rat. rat (def 6).
verb smells, smelling, smelt, smelled
(transitive) to perceive the scent or odour of (a substance) by means of the olfactory nerves
(copula) to have a specified smell; appear to the sense of smell to be: the beaches smell of seaweed, some tobacco smells very sweet
(intransitive) often foll by of. to emit an odour (of): the park smells of flowers
(intransitive) to emit an unpleasant odour; stink
(transitive) often foll by out. to detect through shrewdness or instinct
(intransitive) to have or use the sense of smell; sniff
(intransitive) foll by of. to give indications (of): he smells of money
(intransitive; foll by around, about, etc) to search, investigate, or pry
(copula) to be or seem to be untrustworthy or corrupt
smell a rat, to detect something suspicious
that sense (olfaction) by which scents or odours are perceived related adjective olfactory
anything detected by the sense of smell; odour; scent
a trace or indication
the act or an instance of smelling
v. smelled or smelt (smělt), smell·ing, smells
To perceive the scent of something by means of the olfactory nerves. n.
The sense by which odors are perceived; the olfactory sense.
- Smell like a rose
noun a man with roving eyes, a lecherous womanizer Word Origin from errant priest whose activites gave him a smelly smock
- Smell something out
smell something out
- Smell test
noun a cursory test of one’s clothing to see if it needs to be put in the laundry basket Word Origin 1975; fr smelling food to see if it has gone bad Usage Note informal