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Etymology 1[edit]

smell +‎ -y


  • enPR: smĕlʹē, IPA(key): /ˈsmɛli/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛli


smelly (comparative smellier, superlative smelliest)

  1. Having a bad smell.
    She was hesitant to remove her shoes, as her socks were rather smelly.
  2. (figuratively) Having a quality that arouses suspicion.
    The detective read the documents and thought, "Something sure is smelly about this case."
  3. (figuratively, computing, slang, in extreme programming) Having signs that suggest a design problem; having a code smell.
    That smelly code needs to be refactored.
Derived terms[edit]


smelly (plural smellies)

  1. (rare) A smelly person.
    • 1965, Richard Dowling, chapter 31, in All the Beautiful People, London: Arthur Barker Limited [], page 228:
      And I can get home myself, thank you. Little smelly.
    • 2000, Ian Whybrow, Little Wolf’s Postbag, London: Collins, →ISBN, page 45:
      Or if you know any piglets with water pistols, maybe you could throw them a bottle of gargle and say, ‘Hoy you smellies, I bet you can’t squirt the little dangly thing up the dark end of my gob with this’.
    • 2009 June, “Anti-Fascism in Liverpool: Action! Race War to Door Wars [Review]”, in KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library, number 58-9, London: Kate Sharpley Library, →ISSN, page 7, column 1:
      However, according to [Joey] Owens, these anarchists are all a bunch of smellies, who run away “screaming” while forever being hit over the head with iron bars by victorious fascists.
    • [2012, Joe O’Neill, Wrath of the Caid (The Red Hand Adventures; II), [Hood River, Ore.]: Black Ship Publishing, →ISBN, page 92:
      Both of them had been called “little smellies,” because Hillie insisted their breath reeked of garlic and fish.]
    • 2014, Shweta Taneja, Cult of Chaos: An Anantya Tantrist Mystery, Noida, Uttar Pradesh: HarperCollins Publishers India, →ISBN, page 212:
      I have two little smellies to think of too. Family is big and cost of living in this city is increasing by the day.

Etymology 2[edit]

A comical pronunciation of the initials SMLE.


smelly (plural smellies)

  1. (firearms, informal) a Short Magazine Lee Enfield rifle or one of its derivatives.