An "odor" is a smell. It’s usually a bad smell:
- A strange odor is coming from the refrigerator.
- He has really bad body odor.*
- Do you smell that odor? Is that gas?
- What’s that odor?
- There’s a terrible odor coming from the bathroom.
- Those flowers have an unusual odor coming from them.
- The odor from the paint will go away in a few days.
When the word "smell" is used as a noun, it’s very similar to the word "odor."
- What’s that smell?
- A strange smell is coming from the refrigerator.
- Something smells. (The sentence uses "smell" as a verb.)
The word "fragrance" is also used as a noun, but it almost always represents a good smell:
- That’s a very nice fragrance she’s wearing.
- Where’s that fragrance coming from?
- Those flowers are very fragrant. (The word "fragrant" is an adjective.)
* Note: B.O. is a common abbreviation for body odor:
He has very bad B.O.
Click here to go to the Word of the Day page.
The page was first published on February 12, 2012. It was amended on January 16, 2015.