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English definition of “smell”

smell

noun  /smel/ us  

smell noun (ABILITY)

[U] the ability to notice or discover a substance in the air by using the nose: Smell is one of the five senses. Dogs have a very good sense of smell.

smell noun (CHARACTERISTIC)

[C] the characteristic of something that can be recognized or noticed using the nose: a sweet/strong/unpleasant smell the smell of flowers/perfume/coffee/paint I woke up to the smell of bacon and eggs. I wish we could get rid of that smell in the garage.

smell noun (DISCOVERY)

[U] the act of using your nose to discover the characteristic of a substance in the air: Have a smell of this thyme.

smell

verb  /smel/ us  

smell verb (DISCOVER)

[T] to become aware of or to discover something using the nose: Just smell this perfume! She smelled something burning. fig. Brenda can smell trouble a mile off. (= knows when there will be trouble.)

smell verb (USE ABILITY)

[I/T] to have the ability to notice or discover a substance in the air by using your nose: [T ] I have a cold and I can’t smell anything.

smell verb (HAVE CHARACTERISTIC)

to have a particular quality that people can notice with their noses: [I] My hands smell of onions. [I] It smells like you’ve been baking in here. [L] That soup smells good. [I] Your feet smell (= have an unpleasant smell).
(Definition of smell from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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