smell of

smell of (something)

1. To have the odor of something due to its presence. You want to add just enough so that the soup smells a bit of mint, without overpowering the actual flavor. Ugh, this room smells of wet dog.
2. To have an odor that is very like or suggestive of something. This peculiar flower smells of rotting flesh to attract flies and beetles as pollinators. Their candles smell of very unusual things, such as cheese or steak.
3. To be strikingly reminiscent or suggestive of something; to give a strong indication or implication of something. Their whole PR statement about the firing smells of corporate greed and incompetence. The judge's sudden reversal of his decision smells of bribery, if you ask me. The way she talked to him smelled of arrogance.
See also: of, smell

smell of something

to have the smell of something; to smell like something. This house smells of onions. Her cooking always smells of entirely too much garlic.
See also: of, smell

smell of

v.
1. To have an odor suggesting that something or someone is or has been present: The locker room smells of soap and sweat.
2. To be suggestive of something; have a tinge or hint of something: The dark cave smells of terror.
See also: of, smell
References in classic literature ?
Well," said his master, "I should not like him to take cold; but I don't like the smell of this stable.
From the alighting board, instead of the former spirituous fragrant smell of honey and venom, and the warm whiffs of crowded life, comes an odor of emptiness and decay mingling with the smell of honey.
A RICH MAN lived near a Tanner, and not being able to bear the unpleasant smell of the tan-yard, he pressed his neighbor to go away.
By God, master," returned Sancho, "I have touched them already; and that devil, that goes about there so busily, has firm flesh, and another property very different from what I have heard say devils have, for by all accounts they all smell of brimstone and other bad smells; but this one smells of amber half a league off.
Marvel not at that, Sancho my friend," said Don Quixote; "for let me tell thee devils are crafty; and even if they do carry odours about with them, they themselves have no smell, because they are spirits; or, if they have any smell, they cannot smell of anything sweet, but of something foul and fetid; and the reason is that as they carry hell with them wherever they go, and can get no ease whatever from their torments, and as a sweet smell is a thing that gives pleasure and enjoyment, it is impossible that they can smell sweet; if, then, this devil thou speakest of seems to thee to smell of amber, either thou art deceiving thyself, or he wants to deceive thee by making thee fancy he is not a devil.
The standards to be roses; juniper; holly; berberries (but here and there, because of the smell of their blossoms); red currants; gooseberries; rosemary; bays; sweetbriar; and such like.
The heavy smell was replaced by the smell of aromatic vinegar, which Kitty with pouting lips and puffed-out, rosy cheeks was squirting through a little pipe.
As he opened the hall door the vile smell of chemicals which had spoilt his breakfast met him with a redoubled virulence.
And while he talked on, holding Daughtry's eyes, a smell of roast meat began to pervade the air.
And while Daughtry waited, perplexed, confused, wondering why Doctor Emory did not proceed, the coal of fire burned his skin and flesh, till the smoke of it was apparent to all, as was the smell of it.
But there was a strong smell of rats; and John Joiner spent the rest of the morning sniffing and whining, and wagging his tail, and going round and round with his head in the hole like a gimlet.
It was long after sunrise, but no one dreamed of going to sleep, and from time to time, during the talk, Mother Wolf would throw up her head, and sniff a deep snuff of satisfaction as the wind brought her the smell of the tiger-skin on the Council Rock.
Men always play with their mouths," said Mowgli; and the silent trailers saw the old man fill and light and puff at a water-pipe, and they took good note of the smell of the tobacco, so as to be sure of Buldeo in the darkest night, if necessary.
Only the smell of the new grass on their door-steps can take away that smell.
For instance, the smell of some items can flood us with memories and emotions.