Definition of scent in English:

scent

Line breaks: scent
Pronunciation: /sɛnt
 
/

noun

  • 2A trail indicated by the characteristic smell of an animal and perceptible to hounds or other animals: the hound followed the scent
    More example sentences
    • Later this year the NFH intend to experiment with trail hunting, in which a cloth soaked in a fox's urine is dragged across the countryside to give the hounds a scent to follow.
    • One possible tactic could involve shooting a fox before the hunt sets out and dragging its corpse round the countryside for hounds to follow the scent.
    • Hounds follow the scent of a fox which may be quite some distance away.
    Synonyms
    spoor, trail, track; Hunting foil, wind
  • 2.1A trail of evidence or other signs assisting someone in a search or investigation: once their interest is aroused they follow the scent with sleuth-like pertinacity
    More example sentences
    • Marco, picking up the scent, tries to investigate, following Shaw around the country.
    • It's possible it has been deliberately left there by the worm's author as a red herring to lead investigators off the scent.
    • A lack of bullets initially put investigators off the scent of gunpowder.
  • 3 [mass noun] archaic The faculty or sense of smell: the dog, having the help of scent as well as of sight
    More example sentences
    • If scent is the sense physically located closest to memory in the brain, then surely the synapses that channel sound tickle the trigger of imagination.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
  • 2Discern by the sense of smell: a shark can scent blood from well over half a kilometre away
    More example sentences
    • ‘Like a shark scenting a drop of blood in a vast expanse of ocean, he sniffed out my vulnerability the first time he laid eyes on me,’ she writes in her new book.
    • She was indeed already circling them, like a shark scenting spilled blood.
    • It was finally lunch period, Mary walks to the line at the Café and later scents a familiar smell.
    Synonyms
    smell, detect the smell of, pick up the smell of, get a whiff of
  • 2.1Sense the presence, existence, or imminence of: the Premier scented victory last night
    More example sentences
    • The Hammers, who had scented victory, had to withdraw their substitute striker in favour of a replacement defender in Neil Ruddock.
    • Chants and songs echoed around the pub as fans scented victory.
    • When McNicholas was shown a straight red for a high shot on Cruckshank, Leigh scented victory.
    Synonyms
    sense, become aware of, become conscious of, detect, discern, perceive, recognize, get wind of, sniff out, nose out
  • 2.2Sniff (the air) for a scent: the bull advanced, scenting the breeze at every step
    More example sentences
    • When we were seated he looked around as if scenting the air, and said, ‘This is very sixties.’
    • ‘Just a sec,’ I said, transforming again into my wolf form and scenting the air.
    • I trudged on, scenting the air every so often to see if anyone was around me and also keeping track of where the border patrollers were.

Phrases

on the scent

In possession of a useful clue in a search or investigation: he might be on the scent of something
More example sentences
  • Within the French secret service, there were a few outright untrustworthy, such as one lieutenant whose blather on a cafe terrace put the Germans on the scent of these listening officers.
  • He is the eco-friendly hound who is on the scent of environmental crime.
  • They think that this provides an avenue to destroy her, and they are like hounds on the scent.

put (or throw) someone off the scent

Mislead someone in the course of a search or investigation: it was a ploy to put us off the scent
More example sentences
  • Either Joss is trying to throw us off the scent… or he is in denial.
  • I'm probably getting paranoid, but are BBC employees trying to throw us off the scent by posting red herrings on these sorts of boards?
  • It is a brilliant way to throw us off the scent, which just reminds us all how vigilant we must be to stopping these evil minds.

Derivatives

scentless

adjective
More example sentences
  • In spring you see clematis montana rubens everywhere, sugary pink, scentless and often clashing with equally ubiquitous but bright chrome yellow Forsythia.
  • When meditating, it seems best for most people to be in a dark room lit by scentless candles while listening to wordless soundscape music.
  • Four weeks later, subjects with the scentless patch had lost an average of only 2.4 pounds, while those sniffing vanilla lost an average of four pounds.

Origin

late Middle English (denoting the sense of smell): from Old French sentir 'perceive, smell', from Latin sentire. The addition of -c- (in the 17th century) is unexplained.

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