c.1300 (implied in smoldering), "to smother, suffocate," cognate with M.Du. smolen, Low Ger. smelen, Flem. smoel "hot," from P.Gmc. *smel-, *smul-. The meaning "burn and smoke without flame" is first recorded 1529, fell from use 17c. (though smoldering persisted in poetry) and was revived 19c.