Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms.


odors, perfumes
Not to be confused with:
cents – pennies, bronze coins
sense – perceive, grasp, comprehend
since – from then until now; between then and now; before now
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree


1. A distinctive, often agreeable odor. See Synonyms at fragrance, smell.
2. A perfume: an expensive French scent.
3. An odor left by the passing of an animal.
4. The trail of a hunted animal or fugitive: The hounds are on the scent.
5. The sense of smell: a bear's keen scent.
6. A hint of something imminent; a suggestion: caught the scent of a reconciliation.
v. scent·ed, scent·ing, scents
1. To perceive or identify by the sense of smell: dogs scenting their prey.
2. To suspect or detect: scented danger.
3. To fill with a pleasant odor; perfume: when blossoms scent the air.
To hunt prey by means of the sense of smell. Used of hounds.

[Middle English sent, from senten, to scent, from Old French sentir, from Latin sentīre, to feel; see sent- in Indo-European roots.]

scent′less adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Running into the marsh among the familiar scents of roots, marsh plants, and slime, and the extraneous smell of horse dung, Laska detected at once a smell that pervaded the whole marsh, the scent of that strong-smelling bird that always excited her more than any other.
And over walls and earth and trees and swinging sprays and tendrils the fair green veil of tender little leaves had crept, and in the grass under the trees and the gray urns in the alcoves and here and there everywhere were touches or splashes of gold and purple and white and the trees were showing pink and snow above his head and there were fluttering of wings and faint sweet pipes and humming and scents and scents.
The air was spicily and sweetly heavy with the scents of wild aromatic plants and gorgeous tropic blooms.
Ghostlike scents crept out of the meadows to meet us, and the fir wood before we came to the church was a living sweetness of Junebells growing in abundance.
He sought and found a wide game trail and at last his nostrils were rewarded with the scent of the fresh spoor of Bara, the deer.
If there were anything in recent juxtaposition to the attacked which would carry the scent, surely that would supply the missing cause."
Here the Emperor sent his minister for Li Po, and here the great lyrist set her mortal beauty to glow from the scented, flower-haunted balustrade immortally through the twilights yet to come.
"It's the turn of our house to find scent for big-side hare-and- hounds," exclaimed Tadpole.
"Aren't they beautiful?" the girl asked, as she breathed in the spicy scent of the bright flowers.
He had gone inland about half a mile when there came suddenly to his trained nostrils the one scent that sets the whole savage jungle aquiver--Tarzan smelled man.
Immediately he took up the trail he had come in search of, following it by scent down into a deep ravine.
As he neared the river, the leader paused often, cocking his ears and raising his muzzle to sniff the gentle breeze for the tell-tale scent spoor of the dread flesh-eaters.