Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


or smoulder

[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.
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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for smolder
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When the cooking was finished the logs were drawn back a few inches and the fire went down to coals, but continued to smolder.

    Dick in the Everglades A. W. Dimock
  • There was no longer a smolder in Latisan—it was all a red flame!

  • It was a brief task to gather the wood and then Ross and Shif'less Sol lighted the fire, which they permitted merely to smolder.

    The Young Trailers Joseph A. Altsheler
  • The flame of discontent, nevertheless, continued to smolder.

  • The stump will burn and smolder to the end of the roots, leaving nothing but ashes.

  • The decks of the Savissan craft were beginning to smolder, and her arrow fire was weakening.

    The Golden Amazons of Venus John Murray Reynolds
British Dictionary definitions for smolder


verb, noun
the US spelling of smoulder
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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for smolder

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for smolder

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for smolder