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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.
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Examples from the Web for smoldered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His anger was to be feared because it smoldered long, rather than because it exploded into quick violence.

    Rim o' the World B. M. Bower
  • This was the temperament that smoldered in him: the lurking flame that he had to live with daily.

    The Crow's Nest Clarence Day, Jr.
  • An accidental death would certainly extinguish any volcanic fires that smoldered under Allaha.

    The Adventures of Kathlyn Harold MacGrath
  • He smoldered inside, and he laid it to the stir and bustle and noise.

    Poor Man's Rock Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • Danny's Contrary fire, which had smoldered all day, showed brightly again.

  • "It'll fill dinner-pails and give babies mother's milk," said Sam, as he sat beside me and smoldered out over his crop.

    Over Paradise Ridge Maria Thompson Daviess
  • Above the Big Hill the last ember of day smoldered against a green-blue infinity.

    Birthright T.S. Stribling
  • They have smoldered quietly in some places and had just begun to break through with a steady, even flame.

British Dictionary definitions for smoldered


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
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Word Origin and History for smoldered



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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