smell

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 an adjective, and not an adverb:

• His jacket smelt of horses and tobacco and general maleness —A. Fraser, 1975

• As she stooped lower her breath, caught in all the black veils, smelled terrible —Molly Keane, 1988.

A comparative construction with like is also possible:

• This smells like a poncey brothel —L. Henderson, 1970

• Whisky doesn't smell like whisky until it's been matured in oak barrels for a number of years —Scotsman, 2007.

When an adverb is used it is normally an intensifying adverb (His jacket smelled strongly of horses… / …it smelled extremely putrid), and this applies when smell is used absolutely with the meaning ‘to smell badly, to stink’: The prison cell smelt abominably.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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 — (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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