Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “smell”

smell

verb
 
 
/smel/ (past tense and past participle smelled, also UK smelt)
smell of/like; smell delicious/horrible, etc B1 to have a particular quality that people notice by using their nose: I've been cooking, so my hands smell of garlic. That soup smells delicious - what's in it?Smells and smelling
NOTICE [T] B1 to notice something by using your nose: I think I can smell something burning.Smells and smelling
UNPLEASANT [I] B1 to have an unpleasant smell: Your running shoes really smell!Smells and smelling
PUT YOUR NOSE NEAR [T] B1 to put your nose near something and breathe in so that you can notice its smell: Come and smell these flowers.Smells and smelling
ABILITY [I] B2 to have the ability to notice smells: Dogs can smell much better than humans.Smells and smelling
(Definition of smell verb from the Cambridge Learners Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

More Learner's Dictionary definitions for “smell”

Definitions of “smell” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

stampede

When animals or people stampede, they all move quickly in the same direction, often because they are frightened.

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More