[ol-fak-shuhn, ohl-]
the act of smelling.
the sense of smell.

1840–50; < Latin olfact(us) past participle of olfacere to smell (see olfactory) + -ion

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World English Dictionary
olfaction (ɒlˈfækʃən)
1.  the sense of smell
2.  the act or function of smelling

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

noun of action from L. olfacere to smell (trans.), from olere to emit a smell (see odor) + facere to make (see factitious).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

olfaction ol·fac·tion (ŏl-fāk'shən, ōl-)
The sense of smell.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


the detection and identification by sensory organs of airborne chemicals. The concept of smell, as it applies to humans, becomes less distinct when invertebrates and lower vertebrates (fish and amphibians) are considered, because many lower animals detect chemicals in the environment by means of receptors in various locations on the body, and no invertebrate possesses a chemoreceptive structure resembling the vertebrate nasal cavity. For this reason, many authorities prefer to regard smell as distance chemoreception and taste as contact chemoreception.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
For decades, the received wisdom among biologists has been that human beings
  are depauperate animals when it comes to olfaction.
Studies of the brains of mice show that regions involved in olfaction also
  react to sound.
In addition to these two growth spurts, the researchers suggest, olfaction led
  to a third set of changes in the mammal brain.
Areas of the brain relating to olfaction are decreased in primates in general,
  and more so in great apes.
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