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 ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.