An object that can be seen is visible.

Something that can be heard is audible.

What's a similar word to indicate that something is smellable?

  • Sniffable? And I'm sure I've seen smellable in at least a few articles now and then. – HorusKol Feb 14 '11 at 12:42
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    Isn't it funny how such words are only regarded as "real" technical terms if they have Latinate (or sometimes Classical Greek) roots? The Germanic word "smellable" can be found in the dictionary and is instantly understandable, but like "seeable" and "hearable", seems unworthy of being in the company of Latin-based "visible" and "audible". Objectively speaking, there should be nothing wrong with "smellable". (Note, also, that all the answers so far have suggested Latin-based words as well.) – Kosmonaut Feb 14 '11 at 14:25
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    But seriously, what’s wrong with the word “smellable”? Why not just use that? – nohat Feb 14 '11 at 18:55
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    I think the main problem is that almost all the words we've come up with have either a negative (most) or positive connotation. Interesting, given the role of smelling in survival (is this food bad?) versus seeing and hearing (can you spot the predator/prey?). – buildsucceeded Feb 15 '11 at 12:31
  • For touch there is palpable or tangible. For taste, it's tastable. – JLG Sep 29 '12 at 3:27

12 Answers 12


Both olfactory and olfactive have this meaning, but both words also have the more common meaning of emitting a smell, so they wouldn't be useful.

The best choice would be olfactible. Wiktionary includes it, but as far as I can tell, they're the only ones.

  • Olfactible is a bit of a neologism, but as the geeks inherit the earth (or at least carve out a large subculture of our own) I predict it’ll see more and more use :-P – PLL Feb 14 '11 at 7:40
  • Very disappointed that I can't find a Greek word to match. Greek for 'smellable' is ὀσφραντός, which doesn't seem to have any descendants in English. Osphrant would be my neologism but it's hardly intuitive like olfactible. +1 for that. – gpr Feb 14 '11 at 11:38

Olfactible (“having an odor; capable of being smelled”) seems relevant.

You may find the wordnik list for odorific of interest; it includes about five dozen “smelling words”, the first few being odoriferous, malodorous, heavenly, redolent, putrid, delectable, stagnant, fragrant, smelly, noisome, noxious, fetid, aromatic, dank, musty, moldy, fusty.

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    Another for your list: "scented" is very common. – MetaEd Sep 29 '12 at 3:58
  • +1 This seems the only logically correct term among the alternatives presented so far, considering OP's question is about 'capable of being smelled'. – Kris Sep 29 '12 at 5:51

Odorous? (Odourous in the UK) (Same in the UK, see below)

Scented if the smell was added (Strawberry-scented envelopes, but not scented strawberries) or smelly if the smell is pungent or unpleasant (smelly cheese can be good, smelly socks aren't).

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    "malodorous" and "fetid" also come to mind for the negative side – PSU Feb 14 '11 at 14:16
  • @PSU ooh, good ones. – buildsucceeded Feb 14 '11 at 15:51
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    No, not "*odourous" in the UK. "Odorous" both in the UK and the US - like "favour" (UK only) but "favorite" (both). – psmears Feb 14 '11 at 16:51
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    @psmears: I thought the UK spelling was "favourite". The OED online lists "favourite" and shows favorite to be the US spelling. – Tragicomic Feb 15 '11 at 9:12
  • @Tragicomic: I'm sorry, you're right about "favourite" of course! I was trying to give an example of one of the pairs where the "u" does disappear in compounds (eg colour/coloration, labour/laborious, rancour/rancorous etc) but picked the wrong one - my apologies!. My comment about UK spelling being "odorous" still stands though :) – psmears Feb 15 '11 at 10:27

An object that can be smelled might be called "fragrant".

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    If the smell is pleasant and not too strong. If it's unpleasant or very strong, I'd use pungent. – Wayne May 17 '11 at 15:55

Smellable is reported in the NOAD as derivative of smell, and I imagine it means able to be smelled, in the same way calculable means "able to be measured or assessed."

  • I was referring to calculable, but I have written calculate by mistake. I was making a comparison between smellable and another word ending in -able; clearly the paragon cannot be done with calculate, which doesn't end in -able. – kiamlaluno Aug 23 '11 at 12:22

English syntax allows us to stick smell and able together.

Something gives off an odor (or perhaps doesn't) but for some reason, we cannot detect it. Perhaps it is too far!

I see a flower in a yard across the street, but it isn't smellable from here, though it is undoubtedly odorous, odoriferous, fragrant, and smelly. It can be smelled, just not in this situation.

  • FWIW: NOAD lists smellable as an adjective, under its entry for smell. OED gives smellable its own entry, with the definition, "Capable of being smelt." – J.R. Sep 29 '12 at 9:54

The word you want is odoriferous (sometimes shortened to odiferous): "Having an odour or fragrance."

A synonym given on the Wiktionary link is odorous.

  • None of them means smell-able. – Kris Sep 29 '12 at 5:53

Aromatic is another word for this:

From Merriam-Webster:

1 : of, relating to, or having aroma:
a : fragrant
b : having a strong smell

  • Probably the best answer, imo. Aromatic doesn't imply anything about the qualities of the aroma in question, unlike "odorous" or "fragrant", despite that latter being the 2nd definition. Aromatic is the closest I can think of to "having a smell". – Dan Ray Aug 23 '11 at 12:36

"Odiferous", which seems to be a contraction of "odoriferous" means "yielding an odor" per Merriam Webster (odoriferous)


Perhaps odoriferous, odiferous, odorous, or fragrant.

And there is always smelly.

  • The first four do mean smelly. None of them means smell-able. – Kris Sep 29 '12 at 5:52
  • @Kris: So, you're saying that smell : odiferous :: hearing : loud; however, the O.P. is asking for [something] : smell :: audible : hearing. – J.R. Sep 29 '12 at 9:50
  • @J.R. The question is clear enough. Let's wait for OP's response. – Kris Sep 29 '12 at 10:36
  • @Kris: I was just trying to make sure I understood your objections to the first two answers. It took me a moment to figure it out. – J.R. Sep 29 '12 at 10:53

Odorable. (Not to be confused with 'adorable')

Meaning 'Able to be smelled. Perceptible to the sense of smell'.



The word chemosensory seems to fit what's being asked for.

  • And I'm sure everyone's going to know exactly what's meant by it! – buildsucceeded Aug 23 '11 at 11:32

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