2. A perfume: an expensive French scent.
3. An odor left by the passing of an animal.
4. The trail of a hunted animal or fugitive: The hounds are on the scent.
5. The sense of smell: a bear's keen scent.
6. A hint of something imminent; a suggestion: caught the scent of a reconciliation.
v. scent·ed, scent·ing, scents
1. To perceive or identify by the sense of smell: dogs scenting their prey.
2. To suspect or detect: scented danger.
3. To fill with a pleasant odor; perfume: when blossoms scent the air.
To hunt prey by means of the sense of smell. Used of hounds.
[Middle English sent, from senten, to scent, from Old French sentir, from Latin sentīre, to feel; see sent- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.