Share this entry
British English: /smɛl/
American English: /smɛl/

Translation of smell in French:


  • 1 (odour) (gen)
    (unpleasant) (mauvaise) odeur (f)
    a smell of cooking/burning
    une odeur de cuisine/de brûlé
    there's a bit of a smell in here
    il y a une drôle d'odeur ici
    what a smell!
    comme ça sent mauvais!
  • 3 (action) to have a smell of ou at something
    sentir un peu quelque chose
  • 4 [figurative] (of absence, fraud, dishonesty)
    relents mpl

transitive verb prétpp smelled smelt (British English)

  • 1 [literal] (notice, detect)
    (sniff deliberately) (person)
    I could smell alcohol on his breath
    je sentais à son haleine qu'il avait bu
    I can smell lemons/burning
    ça sent le citron/le brûlé
  • 2 [figurative] (detect)
    flairer (danger, problem, success, change, good worker)
    repérer (liar, cheat)
    a good reporter can always smell a good story
    un bon journaliste flaire toujours une bonne histoire

intransitive verb prét, pp smelled smelt (British English)

  • 1 (have odour) (gen)
    (unpleasantly) sentir (mauvais)
    that smells nice/horrible
    ça sent bon/très mauvais
    this gas/flower doesn't smell
    ce gaz/cette fleur ne sent rien
    to smell of roses/garlic
    sentir la rose/l'ail
    that smells like curry
    ça sent le curry
  • 2 [figurative]to smell of racism/complacency/corruption
    sentir le racisme/la complaisance/la corruption
  • 3 (have sense of smell)
    avoir de l'odorat

Phrasal verbs

smell out

smell [something] out, smell out [something] 1.1 (sniff out, discover) [literal]
flairer (drugs, explosives)
1.2 [figurative]
découvrir (plot, treachery, corruption)
démasquer (spy, traitor)
1.3 (cause to stink)
empester, empuantir (room, house)
Definition of smell in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources