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[ol-fak-tuh-ree, -tree, ohl-] /ɒlˈfæk tə ri, -tri, oʊl-/
of or pertaining to the sense of smell:
olfactory organs.
noun, plural olfactories.
Usually, olfactories. an olfactory organ.
1650-60; < Latin olfactōrius, equivalent to olfac(ere) to smell at, sniff (ol(ēre) to smell (akin to odor) + facere to make, do) + -tōrius -tory1
Related forms
olfactorily, adverb
nonolfactory, adjective, noun, plural nonolfactories. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for olfactory
  • The size and intensity of these sniffs turn out to be important gauges of olfactory ability.
  • In particular, the role of perfume as an olfactory disguise is obvious.
  • olfactory receptors, the proteins responsible for the sense of smell, are notoriously difficult to isolate in the lab.
  • The information gathered by these cells is relayed to the mouth via a process called olfactory referral.
  • He has no arms, can't run fast, appears to have a large olfactory lobe and he's big.
  • Perhaps computer scientists will soon be training stem cells for implantation in the olfactory bulb or memory circuits.
  • olfactory neurons are the only nerve cells in the body that regenerate, replacing themselves once every month or two.
  • Yet the funky fish wharf lives on in olfactory glory.
  • These were clustered together in the same area of the brain as olfactory memory neurons.
  • The general outlines of the olfactory pathway have been known for about two decades.
British Dictionary definitions for olfactory


/ɒlˈfæktərɪ; -trɪ/
of or relating to the sense of smell
noun (pl) -ries
(usually pl) an organ or nerve concerned with the sense of smell
Word Origin
C17: from Latin olfactus, past participle of olfacere, from olere to smell + facere to make
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for olfactory

1650s, from Latin olfactorius, from olfact-, past participle stem of olfacere "to get the smell of, sniff," from olere "emit a smell, give off a smell of" (see odor) + facere "make" (see factitious).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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olfactory in Medicine

olfactory ol·fac·to·ry (ŏl-fāk'tə-rē, -trē, ōl-)
Of, relating to, or contributing to 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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olfactory in Science
  (ŏl-fāk'tə-rē, ōl-)   
Relating to or involving the organs or sense of smell.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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olfactory in Culture
olfactory [(ol-fak-tuh-ree, ohl-fak-tuh-ree)]

A descriptive term for the sense of smell.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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