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How To Say "To Smell" In Spanish

Learning a new language opens doors to diverse cultures and enriches our understanding of the world. One essential aspect of language acquisition is grasping the nuances of verbs, especially when they don different forms in various languages. In this article, we will explore how to say the English verb "to smell" in Spanish, delving into its meaning, translations, synonyms, and regional variations.

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What is "To Smell" in Spanish?

The English verb "to smell" corresponds to the Spanish verb oler (IPA: /o'ler/). This versatile verb captures the sense of smell, portraying the action of detecting scents through the olfactory system. "Oler" is used to express a range of olfactory experiences, from pleasant fragrances to unpleasant odors. This verb seamlessly intertwines with everyday conversations and descriptions in Spanish-speaking regions.

Meaning of "To Smell" in Spanish

"Oler" encapsulates various meanings in Spanish:

  • To have a scent: El perfume huele a rosas. (The perfume smells like roses.)
  • To detect an odor: Aquí huelo a comida deliciosa. (Here, I smell delicious food.)
  • To sense a fragrance: La brisa marina hace que todo huela a sal. (The sea breeze makes everything smell like salt.)
  • To perceive an aroma: Los jazmines en el jardín siempre hacen que el aire huela dulce. (The jasmine in the garden always makes the air smell sweet.)
  • To notice a stench: Esta área huele muy mal. Necesitamos encontrar la fuente. (This area smells really bad; we need to find the source.)

Synonyms of "To Smell" in Spanish

Here are some synonyms of the verb "oler" in Spanish, along with their meanings:

  • Percibir (IPA: /perθi'bir/): To perceive. To become aware of or recognize something through the sense of smell.
  • Sentir (IPA: /sen'tir/): To sense. To detect or notice something using the sense of smell.
  • Flotar (IPA: /flo'tar/): To waft. To be carried through the air by the wind or a current, often referring to a scent or aroma.
  • Inhalar (IPA: /iɲa'lar/): To inhale. To breathe in air, which may carry scents or odors, into the respiratory system.
  • Exhalar (IPA: /eks'a'lar/): To exhale. To breathe out air, which can release scents or fragrances into the environment.
  • Desprender (IPA: /despren'der/): To release. To emit or give off a scent or odor, often gradually or as a result of a process.
  • Aromar (IPA: /a'romar/): To aromatize. To impregnate or infuse something with a pleasant or aromatic scent.
  • Perfumar (IPA: /perfu'mar/): To perfume. To apply or add a pleasant fragrance to something, usually by using a scented substance.
  • Identificar (IPA: /iðenti'fikar/): To identify. To recognize or determine something by its scent or odor.
  • Olfatear (IPA: /olfa'tear/): To sniff. To take a quick, deep breath through the nose to detect scents or odors.

—The verb, adjective, and adverb forms of smell (to smell, smelly, smellable, smellily) are analyzed in other blog posts. 

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Regional References

In some regions, you might come across different words or expressions to convey the act of smelling. For instance, in parts of Latin America, you might hear the term "olfatear" used, which also means "to smell." However, "oler" remains the widely accepted and understood term across various Spanish-speaking communities.

How to Say "To Smell" in Spanish: Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences you can use to say "to smell" in Spanish:

  • Las flores huelen maravilloso.

(The flowers smell wonderful.)

  • La panadería siempre huele a pan recién horneado.

(The bakery always smells like freshly baked bread.) 

  • El perfume que llevas puesto huele increíble.

(The perfume you're wearing smells amazing.)

  • La cocina huele a comida deliciosa.

(The kitchen smells like delicious food.)

  • Después de la lluvia, la tierra huele fresca y limpia.

(After the rain, the earth smells fresh and clean.)

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As you embark on your journey of mastering the Spanish language, remember that understanding verbs like "oler" goes beyond mere translation. It is about embracing the rich tapestry of meanings, nuances, and regional flavors that each language offers. Whether you are in Mexico, Argentina, Spain, or any other Spanish-speaking region, the verb "oler" will help you express the captivating world of scents and aromas. So, go ahead and immerse yourself in the art of describing how things "smell" in Spanish, adding a fragrant layer to your linguistic repertoire.

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