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[smohl-der] /ˈsmoʊl dər/
verb (used without object)
to burn without flame; undergo slow or suppressed combustion.
to exist or continue in a suppressed state or without outward demonstration:
Hatred smoldered beneath a polite surface.
to display repressed feelings, as of indignation, anger, or the like:
to smolder with rage.
dense smoke resulting from slow or suppressed combustion.
a smoldering fire.
Also, smoulder.
Origin of smolder
1275-1325; (noun) Middle English smolder smoky vapor, dissimilated variant of smorther smother; (v.) Middle English (as present participle smolderende), derivative of the noun
Related forms
unsmoldering, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for smolder
  • Soaking allows the chips to smolder rather than burn, generating fragrant clouds of flavorful wood smoke.
  • Do not allow the burn barrel to smolder, especially overnight.
  • When not managed properly, a pile of mint slugs will eventually smolder and burn.
  • Burn only clean, dry materials and do not let poorly fires smolder.
  • Most fail, some fast in a blaze of credit-card debt, some slowly in a smolder of obscurity.
  • Breathe in, through injection, skin popping and smolder are some the main ways to take it.
  • The fire was extinguished last night, but in some places the embers still smolder.
  • Teams will sometimes smolder over a loss to a lesser opponent for weeks, maybe months before getting a chance for redemption.
  • Place over medium heat until the wood begins to smolder.
  • Firefighters continued today to fight the blaze, which was expected to smolder for days.
British Dictionary definitions for smolder


verb, noun
the US spelling of smoulder


verb (intransitive)
to burn slowly without flame, usually emitting smoke
(esp of anger, etc) to exist in a suppressed or half-suppressed state
to have strong repressed or half repressed feelings, esp anger
dense smoke, as from a smouldering fire
a smouldering fire
Word Origin
C14: from smolder (n), of obscure origin
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 smolder

c.1300 (implied in smoldering), "to smother, suffocate," related to Middle Dutch smolen, Low German smelen, Flemish smoel "hot," from Proto-Germanic *smel-, *smul-. The intransitive meaning "burn and smoke without flame" is first recorded 1520s, fell from use 17c. (though smoldering persisted in poetry) and was revived 19c. Figurative sense "exist in a suppressed state; burn inwardly" is from 1810. Related: Smouldered; smolderingly. Middle English also had a noun smolder meaning "smoky vapor, a stifling smoke."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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