smell


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smell,

sense that enables an organism to perceive and distinguish the odors of various substances, also known as olfaction. In humans, the organ of smell is situated in the mucous membrane of the upper portion of the nasal cavity near the septum. It is made up of the olfactory cells, which are actually nerve cells that function as receptors for the sense of smell. The free ends of the cells project outward from the epithelial tissue in the form of numerous hairlike processes. These fibers are buried in the mucus that coats the inner surface of the nasal cavity and are stimulated by various odors. Nerve fibers extend from the olfactory cells to an area of the brain called the olfactory bulb in most people; the olfactory bulb appears to be absent, without affecting the sense of smell, in some left-handed women. Any disturbance of the nasal cavity—such as the common cold—in which the olfactory hairs are covered with excess mucus or other material, interferes with the sense of smell. Most physiologists agree that although a substance must be volatile to be sniffed by the nose, it must subsequently be dissolved in the mucous lining of the nasal cavity to be smelled. It is also believed that there are only a few basic odors (perhaps about seven), and that all other odors are a combination of these. Attempts at classifying the so-called primary sensations of smell have not yet been successful. The sense of smell is not as strongly developed in humans as in many other vertebrates, particularly carnivores which employ olfactory organs to locate food and detect dangerous predators. To many invertebrates (especially insects) as well, smell is a highly developed sensory mechanism, necessary in obtaining food, in finding mating partners, and in recognizing other animals.
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What does it mean when you dream about a smell?

Experiences from the past play a part in distinguishing what a smell in a dream means to the dreamer. Sometimes we remember people by the odors we identify them with, like grandpa’s pipe tobacco. In this example, the significance of the dream would depend on what grandpa meant to the dreamer.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.

smell

[smel]
(physiology)
To perceive by olfaction.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

smell

that sense (olfaction) by which scents or odours are perceived
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

Smell

(dreams)
At times you may experience the sense of smell in your dreams. The smell could be environmental. If there is a strong smell in your sleeping environment, you may perceive it and incorporate it into your dream. Otherwise, the smell in your dreams is triggered by a memory. You may be associating your dream experience with a pleasant or unpleasant order. For example, if you are dreaming about your mother, you may smell the aroma of a food she once cooked. The smell may trigger emotions and reflect the general quality of the experience in your dream.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in classic literature ?
'The door of my room is wide open--and you know how fast a smell can travel.
He became conscious of a mysteriously offensive odour in the room, entirely new in his experience of revolting smells. It was composed
Does the king bid me to smell out him of whom the spirits have spoken to me as the worker of this deed?"
Then the young man Indabazimbi stepped straight forward across the ring, making no cries or gestures, but as one who walks from his gate to the cattle kraal, and suddenly he struck the king in the face with the tail in his hand, saying, "I smell out the Heavens above me!"[2]
One day his master came in and said, "Alfred, the stable smells rather strong; should not you give that stall a good scrub and throw down plenty of water?"
But first, before Kwaque was leaned back, Doctor Emory threw over the chair a sheet that smelled of having been roasted almost to the scorching point.
He touched his finger to his sensationless forehead, then smelled it and recognized the burnt flesh he had not felt burning.
And yet as I sit at work, I smell miles of flowers.
'I dare say my birds sing better than other birds, and my flowers smell better than other flowers.
It's th' springtime an' out o' doors an' sunshine as smells so graidely."
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.