9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 smoldered
  • To everyone's happy surprise, the old standbys worked wonders, maybe because the patient had smoldered unaided for so long.
  • The vans still smoldered and set an acrid tang in the air which stung bitter in the back of the throat.
  • For months, in silent retirement, he had smoldered quietly.
  • Even weeks later, after rain and snow had fallen, fire still smoldered below ground.
  • Whatever the cause, once ignited, the fire smoldered underground.
  • The fire smoldered over night and as the morning sun warmed the slope, smoke and flames became visible from the roadside.
  • The lightning knocked the top out of the tree and the tree smoldered for two weeks.
  • It was probably started by a lightning strike and smoldered until today's hot, dry, windy conditions prompted it to grow.
  • The fire smoldered for four months until a series of coastal storms in the fall finally put it out completely.
  • It is believed that the fire smoldered for a while in the attic before finding a reliable fuel source.
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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