Smell

From Teflpedia
Smelling coffee (or in this case, an apparently empty mug).

Smell (/smel/) is an English word that can be both a verb or a noun with a meaning related to sense.


Like other sense-related verbs, it can be a copular verb.

In terms of meaning, "smell" can mean both "(give off a) stink", and "to sense a smell". Hence the sentence "I smell a smelly smell that smells smelly"[1] parses. There may be a technical word for this in semantics, but I'm not sure what it is.

Also, the joke "my dog has no nose. How does he smell? Awful!"[2]


As a verb, it is an ambiregular verb. Smell has the third person form "smells" (/smelz/), and the -ing form smelling. It has the regular preterite and past participle "smelled" (/smeld/ or /smelt/), but also, particularly in British English has an irregular preterite and past participle "smelt" (/smelt/)


Of course, one of the many aspects of teaching teenagers, particularly teenage boys who have yet to discover deodorant, is that they can often smell quite bad.

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