plural nounchiefly historical
A pungent substance sniffed as a restorative in cases of faintness or headache, typically consisting of ammonium carbonate mixed with perfume.
- She took a deep sniff of her smelling salts. ‘I've been worried sick!’
- With a sputtering cough, Cyrus was jerked back into consciousness, the acrid ammonia fumes of the smelling salts under his nose doing their job.
- Kodi's eyes snapped open as he fell into a coughing fit caused by the ammonia in the smelling salts.
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