31 Words for Describing Smell in Writing

Olfactory imagery is the use of words and phrases to describe smells in writing. It allows writers to create a more immersive and sensory experience for their readers by evoking the sense of smell. By using specific words and phrases to convey the intensity, quality, and character of smells, writers can effectively paint a vivid and detailed picture in the reader's mind. In this article, we've compiled a list of 50 words with meaning and usage to help writers add olfactory imagery to their writing. Whether you're describing the fragrance of a rose or the stench of rotten eggs, these words will help you bring your writing to life and engage your readers' sense of smell

Here are words with meaning and usage to convey olfactory imagery:

  1. Sweet - having a pleasant, sugary smell; "the sweet aroma of flowers"
  2. Savory - having a pleasant, salty or spicy smell; "the savory smell of cooking food"
  3. Sour - having a sharp, acidic smell; "the sour smell of vinegar"
  4. Bitter - having a sharp, unpleasant smell; "the bitter smell of cigarettes"
  5. Salty - having a strong, salty smell; "the salty smell of the sea"
  6. Spicy - having a strong, pungent smell; "the spicy smell of cinnamon"
  7. Tangy - having a sharp, acidic smell; "the tangy smell of citrus fruit"
  8. Piquant - having a sharp, spicy smell; "the piquant smell of curry"
  9. Aromatic - having a pleasant, strong smell; "the aromatic smell of lavender"
  10. Fragrant - having a sweet, pleasant smell; "the fragrant smell of roses"
  11. Pungent - having a strong, sharp smell; "the pungent smell of garlic"
  12. Musty - having a damp, moldy smell; "the musty smell of old books"
  13. Foul - having a bad smell; "the foul smell of rotten eggs"
  14. Stale - having a dull, flat smell; "the stale smell of old coffee"
  15. Ripe - having a strong, fully developed smell; "the ripe smell of bananas"
  16. Juicy - having a strong, fresh smell; "the juicy smell of watermelon"
  17. Moist - having a damp or humid smell; "the moist smell of rain"
  18. Dry - having no smell or a faint smell; "the dry smell of paper"
  19. Crisp - having a fresh, clean smell; "the crisp smell of laundry"
  20. Flaky - having a light, powdery smell; "the flaky smell of pastry"
  21. Crumbly - having a dry, crumbly smell; "the crumbly smell of cookies"
  22. Chewy - having a slightly sweet or pungent smell; "the chewy smell of gum"
  23. Soft - having a light, gentle smell; "the soft smell of baby powder"
  24. Gooey - having a sticky, sweet smell; "the gooey smell of honey"
  25. Oozy - having a damp, sticky smell; "the oozy smell of mud"
  26. Creamy - having a smooth, rich smell; "the creamy smell of milk"
  27. Thick - having a heavy, intense smell; "the thick smell of smoke"
  28. Thin - having a faint, weak smell; "the thin smell of gasoline"
  29. Fruity - having a sweet, fruity smell; "the fruity smell of berries"
  30. Herbaceous - having a strong, green, leafy smell; "the herbaceous smell of basil"
  31. Spicy - having a strong, pungent smell; "the spicy smell of nutmeg"
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