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English definition of “smell”

smell

verb uk   /smel/ (smelled or UK also smelt, smelled or UK smelt) us  

smell verb (CHARACTERISTIC)

B1 [I, L only + adj] to have a particular quality that others can notice with their noses: My hands smell of (US like) onions. That cake smells good. There's something in the fridge that smells mouldy. Your feet smell (= have an unpleasant smell). Why don't you wash them?

smell verb (DISCOVER)

B1 [T] to notice or discover something using the nose: Come and smell these flowers! Can you smell something burning? [+ (that)] Didn't you smell (that) the pie was burning? I can smell something nasty in the bottom of the fridge. [T] informal to know about or be aware of a situation without having to be told about it: Brenda can smell trouble a mile off (= a long time in advance).

smell verb (ABILITY)

B2 [I] to have the ability to notice or discover that a substance is present by using your nose: Humans can't smell as well as dogs. What I hate most about having a cold is not being able to smell.

smell

noun uk   /smel/ us  

smell noun (CHARACTERISTIC)

B1 [C] the characteristic of something that can be recognized or noticed using the nose: What's your favourite smell? I love the smell of orange blossoms. The marketplace was filled with delightful smells. There's a delicious smell in here. I wish we could get rid of that smell (= bad smell) in the bathroom. the smell of sth literary the particular character or feeling that someone or something has: She's still enjoying the sweet smell (= pleasant experience) of success after her victory in the world championships.

smell noun (ABILITY)

B2 [U] the ability to notice or discover that a substance is present by using your nose: Smell is one of the five senses. Dogs have a very good sense of smell.

smell noun (DISCOVER)

[S] mainly UK the act of putting your nose near something and breathing in so that you can discover its characteristics with your nose: Have a smell of this perfume.
-smelling
suffix uk   /-ɪŋ/
sweet-smelling flowers foul-smelling rubbish
(Definition of smell from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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