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Meaning of “smell” in the English Dictionary

"smell" in British English

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smellverb

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

B1 [I, L only + adj] to have a ​particularquality that ​others can ​notice with ​theirnoses: My ​hands smell ofonions. 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?

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  • 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 ​rotten 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 ​longtime in ​advance).

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  • smell verb (ABILITY)

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

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smellnoun

uk   /smel/  us   /smel/
  • smell noun (CHARACTERISTIC)

B1 [C] the ​characteristic of something that can be ​recognized or ​noticed using the ​nose: What's ​yourfavourite smell? I ​love the smell oforangeblossoms. 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 ​particularcharacter or ​feeling that someone or something has: She's still ​enjoying the sweet smell (= ​pleasantexperience) of ​success after her ​victory in the ​worldchampionships.

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  • smell noun (ABILITY)

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

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  • smell noun (DISCOVER)

[S] mainly UK the ​act of putting ​yournose near something and ​breathing in so that you can ​discoveritscharacteristics with ​yournose: Have a smell of this ​perfume.
-smelling
suffix uk   / -smel.ɪŋ/  us / -smel.ɪŋ/
sweet-smelling ​flowers foul-smelling ​rubbish
(Definition of smell from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"smell" in American English

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smellnoun

 us   /smel/
  • 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 ​yournose to ​discover the ​characteristic of a ​substance in the ​air: Have a smell of this ​thyme.

smellverb

 us   /smel/
  • smell verb (DISCOVER)

[T] to ​becomeaware 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 ​yournose: [T ] I have a ​cold and I can’t smell anything.
  • smell verb (HAVE CHARACTERISTIC)

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