smell


smell
smellable, adj.smell-less, adj.
/smel/, v., smelled or smelt, smelling, n.
v.t.
1. to perceive the odor or scent of through the nose by means of the olfactory nerves; inhale the odor of: I smell something burning.
2. to test by the sense of smell: She smelled the meat to see if it was fresh.
3. to perceive, detect, or discover by shrewdness or sagacity: The detective smelled foul play.
v.i.
4. to perceive something by its odor or scent.
5. to search or investigate (fol. by around or about).
6. to give off or have an odor or scent: Do the yellow roses smell?
7. to give out an offensive odor; stink.
8. to have a particular odor (fol. by of): My hands smell of fish.
9. to have a trace or suggestion (fol. by of).
10. Informal. to be of inferior quality; stink: The play is good, but the direction smells.
11. Informal. to have the appearance or a suggestion of guilt or corruption: They may be honest, but the whole situation smells.
12. smell a rat. See rat (def. 6).
13. smell out, to look for or detect as if by smelling; search out: to smell out enemy spies.
14. smell up, to fill with an offensive odor; stink up: The garbage smelled up the yard.
n.
15. the sense of smell; faculty of smelling.
16. the quality of a thing that is or may be smelled; odor; scent.
17. a trace or suggestion.
18. an act or instance of smelling.
19. a pervading appearance, character, quality, or influence: the smell of money.
[1125-75; early ME smell, smull (n.), smellen, smullen (v.) < ?]
Syn. 16. See odor.

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sense
also called  Olfaction,  

      the detection and identification by sensory organs of airborne chemicals. The concept of smell, as it applies to humans, becomes less distinct when invertebrates and lower vertebrates (fish and amphibians) are considered, because many lower animals detect chemicals in the environment by means of receptors (receptor) in various locations on the body, and no invertebrate possesses a chemoreceptive structure resembling the vertebrate nasal cavity. For this reason, many authorities prefer to regard smell as distance chemoreception and taste as contact chemoreception.

      Olfaction by air-breathing vertebrates depends primarily on chemically sensitive nerves with endings in the lining ( epithelium) of the nasal cavity. Mammals such as carnivores, which rely heavily on the sense of smell for locating food or for warning against predators, have intricately curled turbinal (nasal concha) bones (which support the nasal epithelium), providing greater surface area, thus increasing olfactory sensitivity.

      In addition to the nasal epithelium, Jacobson's organ, located in the roof of the mouth, also serves for chemoreception in some animals. See also chemoreception; nose; perception.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • smell — smell,[/p] scent, odor, aroma all denote a property of a thing that makes it perceptible to the olfactory sense. Smell not only is the most general of these terms but tends to be the most colorless. It is the appropriate word when merely the… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Smell — (sm[e^]l), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Smelled}, {Smelt}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Smelling}.] [OE. smellen, smillen, smullen; cf. LG. smellen, smelen, sm[ o]len, schmelen, to smoke, to reek, D. smeulen to smolder, and E. smolder. Cf. {Smell}, n.] 1. To… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • smell — [smel] vt. smelled or [Chiefly Brit.] Brit. smelt, smelling [ME smellen < OE * smyllan < IE base * smel , to burn slowly > SMOLDER: basic sense “to give off smoke”] 1. to be or become aware of by means of the nose and the olfactory… …   English World dictionary

  • smell — smell; smell·able; smell·age; smell·er; smell·ful; smell·fun·gus; smell·ie; smell·i·ness; …   English syllables

  • Smell — Smell, n. [OE. smel, smil, smul, smeol. See {Smell}, v. t.] (Physiol.) 1. The sense or faculty by which certain qualities of bodies are perceived through the instrumentally of the olfactory nerves. See {Sense}. [1913 Webster] 2. The quality of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Smell — Smell, v. i. 1. To affect the olfactory nerves; to have an odor or scent; often followed by of; as, to smell of smoke, or of musk. [1913 Webster] 2. To have a particular tincture or smack of any quality; to savor; as, a report smells of calumny.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • smell — verb. The form for the past tense and past participle in BrE is smelled or smelt; in AmE smelled is usually preferred. When the verb is used intransitively, the quality of the smell is normally expressed either by a phrase introduced by of or by… …   Modern English usage

  • smell — (v.) late 12c., emit or perceive an odor, also (n.) odor, aroma, stench; not found in O.E., perhaps cognate with M.Du. smolen, Low Ger. smelen to smolder (see SMOLDER (Cf. smolder)). OED says no doubt of O.E. origin, but not recorded, and not… …   Etymology dictionary

  • smell — [n] odor aroma, bouquet, emanation, essence, flavor, fragrance, incense, perfume, redolence, savor, scent, spice, stench, stink, tang, trace, trail, whiff; concepts 590,599 smell [v1] perceive with the nose breathe, detect, discover, find, get a… …   New thesaurus

  • smell|y — «SMEHL ee», adjective, smell|i|er, smell|i|est. having or giving out a strong or unpleasant smell: »I wonder what makes the sea so smelly. I don t like it (Rudyard Kipling). SYNONYM( …   Useful english dictionary

  • Smell — may refer to:* Olfaction, the sense of smell, the ability of humans and other animals to perceive odors * Odor * In programming, a code smell is a symptom in the source code of a program that something is wrong …   Wikipedia


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