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Adjectives for Smells.

Non-object based names for smells.
  (+6, -3)
(+6, -3)
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It seems a little unfair that a sense like smell has so little abstract description (at least in English). Sight and touch both have abstract terms as does hearing to a lesser extent, but with smell it is always " it smells like.....” I think a bit of abstract smell terminology would enrich the language.
dare99, Jun 26 2002

Odor classification http://www.thornley...ation_and_types.htm
includes dung, vomit, morgue and fast food [FarmerJohn, Jun 26 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Vibrational theory of smell http://www.sciencebase.com/elemsmell.html
Idea that smells resemble each other based on vibration of the molecule [magrak, Jun 27 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Definition of "Abstract" http://www.dictiona...m/search?q=abstract
[waugsqueke, Jun 28 2002]

[link]






       "Bouquet like an Aborigine's armpit."
(What is it with all the smell ideas lately?)
angel, Jun 26 2002
  

       examples of the sight and feely terms, please dare99
po, Jun 26 2002
  

       I don't understand what you mean, agent 99.   

       Give some examples of abstract sight/touch/hearing terms, so we have a better idea what smell is missing.
waugsqueke, Jun 26 2002
  

       Red, striped, pretty; soft, rough, moist, sticky; loud, clear, rasping.
Gwenanda, Jun 26 2002
  

       already have cloying smells, rancid smells, but some more wouldn't hurt.
rbl, Jun 26 2002
  

       I could do without more rancid smells if you please, [rbl].   

       Seriously though, there are hundreds or thousands of primary smells. We would need at least a pair of words to describe the relative intensities of each, wouldn't we? Compare to exactly 4 primary tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty).
BigBrother, Jun 26 2002
  

       I classify smells into two categories. It either "Smells Good" or it "Stinks". Because of the consequences of encountering "Stink", I classify "Stinks" with a "stinkfactor". The worse it smells, the higher the stinkfactor.   

       For example, vomit has a stinkfactor of about 20. The average fart, 5-10, 15 if you're ill. Rotten eggs, they're up there, 20-30. German Shepard Poo, 15.   

       I'm not sure if smells really need too much classification beyond what I've described. It's easy enough to just say "Hey, that smells like English Muffins." or "You smell like Egg Drop Soup". Try it out with your friends.   

       Once while walking in Manhattan, within one sniff I caught Cheese, Poo, and Fresh Baked Bread. My wife also described having smelled the same thing. It works!
michaelbuffington, Jun 26 2002
  

       Mmmm...... walking down the street today: cherry pie, poo, wine- vintage 1979, with a hint of dill extract...
polartomato, Jun 26 2002
  

       // Red, striped, pretty; soft, rough, moist, sticky; loud, clear, rasping. //   

       Those are supposed to be examples of abstract sight/touch/hearing? There's nothing abstract about any of those. They are just descriptive. It's the word "abstract" in this idea that throws me.
waugsqueke, Jun 27 2002
  

       me too, waugs. 'adjectives for smells' would have described it better.
po, Jun 27 2002
  

       Waugs, they are abstract because they don't exist in their own right, you cannot hold a red or eat a soft. That said I like Pos' title better than mine so I shall change it from Abstract Smell Descriptions to Adjectives for Smells.
dare99, Jun 27 2002
  

       The problem with this idea is that it would mean that wine tasters would be able to describe the bouquet more easily. As it is, I like seeing them being creative as they struggle to convey the smell.   

       "Sniff....I'm getting barnyards....sniff.....wild garlic.....sniff....marvellous....I'm getting grassy fields, stone walls, lazy summer Sundays.....horses in wetsuits......penguins morris dancing.......oh hang on, what's this I'm sniffing?"
stupop, Jun 27 2002
  

       sorry mood swings here. I thought you had the germ of a good idea though in the abstract sense - kinda like make up some new adjectives.
po, Jun 27 2002
  

       … as if.   

       frostciene and corned (for deeply chilled and crumbled, as are naptha crystals or kosher salt)
reensure, Jun 27 2002
  

       Hm... Smell, a great thing. Though, I've got a hunch that there really is a shitload of primary scent-sensations(I abhor the word scentsations... too punny). It's the most underrated of the senses, and one of the most powerful. I'm anti-language, rather, more for an onomatopaeic language, so I won't give this a croissant, but it's a good idea, so I won't give it a dead fish either...
Crazy Bastard, Jun 27 2002
  

       dare, please see the definition of 'abstract' that I've linked, above. Of the variations given, I think the one that most applies here is this one: "Having an intellectual and affective artistic content that depends solely on intrinsic form rather than on narrative content or pictorial representation."   

       Under that definition, 'red' and 'soft' are certainly not abstract concepts. An abstract description of smell might be saying something smells "legal" or "square". Or "red", or "soft".   

       Anyway, all irrelevant now that the title has changed. In which case I now must ask why this is here, since adjectives for smells are not exactly uncommon.
waugsqueke, Jun 28 2002
  

       I was using the Collins definition as "having no reference to material objects or specific examples". Our current smell adjectives are all object based except for one or two pinched from taste. I thought that a sense as evocative as smell could do with a few of it's own.
dare99, Jun 28 2002
  

       "teen spirit" & "trouble", the 2nd is redundant if you have used the first....
mymus, Jun 28 2002
  

       this has been baked by Hobbes (of Calvin & Hobbes fame). i believe the word for the way wet leaves smell was "snarky". since most animals have much more olfactory power than we puny humans, it makes sense that they would have more words for smells. i do remember the punch line... Calvin: what's the word for the way I smell? Hobbes: terrible! woo ho ho! (runs off laughing)...
china, Jun 28 2002
  

       This coal mine is dark and dank and needs to be fumigated
thumbwax, Jun 29 2002
  

       scassilene (high pheasant, muscat). rhogloid (wet soil, dog-in-car). cyanic (ozone, chlorine).
General Washington, Aug 04 2002
  

       you smell pretty.
rubyissues, Aug 04 2002
  
      
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