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'Hark' calls attention to something that we hear - for example:

"Hark, the herald angels sing" (hymn of the same title, by Charles Wesley)

'Behold' calls attention to something that we see - for example:

"'Behold, the Lamb of God...'" (John 1v29, ESV)

Is there an equivalent for smell? That is, is there a similar word to call attention to something that I can smell?

For example:

__, the roast dinner is ready...

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Scent perhaps?. –  mplungjan Nov 4 '12 at 13:19
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This doesn't really answer your question, but I think it's interesting nevertheless. The word "Hark" ultimately comes from the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European word *h₂ḱh₂owsyé-, meaning "sharp-eared" (comes from *h₂eḱ- ["sharp"] + *h₂ows- ["ear"]). The only remnant of *h₂ḱh₂owsyé- in "hark" is *h₂eḱ- ("sharp"), so I think adding any body part would shorten back to "hark." For example, the Indo-European word for nose was *nas-, so one could say something along the lines of h₂ḱnasyé- for "sharp-nosed," but that would shorten to "hark" if we followed the same etymological process. –  Airhogs777 Nov 4 '12 at 14:13
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Not a single word, but I offer lend me your nose or, similarly, Toucan Sam's follow your nose. –  Zairja Nov 4 '12 at 14:22
    
The equivalent for smell is still "Listen". –  Patrick M Oct 24 at 19:42

3 Answers 3

The word smell itself - to perceive or detect the odour or scent of (something) can be used as a verb. Unlike listen and behold, smell is normally used transitively in such contexts - for example...

Smell that! The toast is burning!

A common alternative (also normally used transitively) is...

Sniff this milk! I think it's gone off! sniff: to draw in (a scent, substance, or air) through the nose.

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Any explanation for the downvote? –  FumbleFingers Nov 4 '12 at 14:58

There are fundamental differences between the perceptions relating to the senses. Assuming people having good eyesight, hearing and so on, and no complicating factors (such as lack of light, being asleep, background noise level), sounds, smells, and prodding and warmth and so on will attract attention (if at sufficient levels) whereas sights (unless accompanied by light at great intensity) are only perceived if the eyes are directed in their direction. Both hark and behold are pragmatic markers, both focusing devices, but hark is relating to something the audience must already be aware of (assuming literalness - which may not be the attention in the carol). Hark must then mean 'let's really listen to this' whereas behold may mean 'look who's over there' or 'let's give this a thorough examination' or 'will you look at that!'. The equivalents with smell would be: "Sniff this milk" (as FumbleFingers observes) or "Just smell the wonderful fragrance in this garden!" The pointing out of a smell which then becomes obvious doesn't work as it does with seeing.

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I'm not sure the fact that sight can be "directed" (physically focussed, as opposed to "given mental attention") really makes any difference to this issue. Hearing is much the same as smelling, in that it's not particularly "focusable" in that sense. The biggest difference I can see is that "Smell!" and "Sniff!" wouldn't normally be used intransitively as imperatives (but I certainly wouldn't say they can't be used thus). –  FumbleFingers Nov 4 '12 at 14:56
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Behold can certainly be used in the same way as Hark, and the KJV uses it at least twice in relation to Christ: John 1:29 and John 19:5. In both cases Christ is seen before attention is drawn to him. –  Andrew Leach Nov 4 '12 at 15:17

You wouldn't use it for pleasant fragrances like fine perfumes, freshly-cut flowers, or Christmas garlands, but if you're looking for an interjection associated with the sense of smell, there's always:

  • P.U. (also pue, peuh, peugh, pyoo, pu, and pew)

Wikipedia defines it as

an interjection used to express contempt, disgust, or derision, often at a smell.

Macmillan lists it as an interjection, and says:

used for saying you smell something unpleasant.

It's defined at Wiktionary as:

an expression of disgust in response to an unpleasant odor.

I've heard it uttered from time to time, especially when driving past pig farms, water treatment plants, large waste dumps, or certain places along the northern New Jersey turnpike.

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But OP asks for a verb that can be used as an imperative command - the same as hark, behold, listen, etc. A larky slang term that normally means "I smell something unpleasant" doesn't really seem to meet that request. –  FumbleFingers Nov 5 '12 at 2:30
    
@Fumble: No argument from me; it's far from a perfect answer. Then again, I'm not sure there IS a good answer to this question. Hark and behold are used much like interjections in the O.P.'s cited example. They are somewhat poetic ways to exclaim, "Look!" or "Listen!" As you admitted in your comment to Edwin, "sniff" and "smell" aren't exact parallels either, at least, not according to conventional use. I spent half a day trying to think of any exclamatory word used in conjunction with the sense of smell, then reported the only one I could think of, even though it's less than ideal. –  J.R. Nov 5 '12 at 9:16
    
@Fumble (cont.): While we're discussing the shortcomings of my answer, I'd also like to point out how the O.P.'s words are generally used for something positive, while "P.U." is used for something particularly unpleasant. I wouldn't use "Behold!" to draw attention to a shoddy art piece, or "Hark!" when first hearing a cacophony of construction noises – those words are reserved for masterpieces like gorgeous sunsets or angelic symphonies. Still, with a dearth of alternates, I thought "P.U." was worth adding to the discussion – it is used in a similar interjectory fashion, and it's olfactory. –  J.R. Nov 5 '12 at 10:31

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