from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The sense of smell.
  • n. The act or process of smelling.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the sense of smell; the detection of airborne molecules

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The sense by which the impressions made on the olfactory organs by the odorous particles in the atmosphere are perceived.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The sense of smell or faculty of smelling; an olfactory act or process; smell; scent.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the faculty that enables us to distinguish scents


Latin olfactus, past participle of olfacere, to smell; see olfactory + -ion.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin olfactus. (Wiktionary)



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  • Very unsal.

    August 21, 2011

  • i love this word its so unsal and unique i didnt know there was another word for smell!

    August 21, 2011

  • Is it such an unusual word, that only 2 Wordies list it? (Three, now)

    June 20, 2009

  • "At the International Symposium on Olfaction and Taste held in San Francisco late last month, Dr. Herz and other researchers discussed the many ways our sense of smell stands alone. Olfaction is an ancient sense, the key by which our earliest forebears learned to approach or slink off. Yet the right aroma can evoke such vivid, whole body sensations that we feel life’s permanent newness, the grounding of now."

    The New York Times, The Nose, an Emotional Time Machine, by Natalie Angier, August 5, 2008

    August 5, 2008