Redolent

 Image courtesy of  Wikipedia .

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Smell and memory go hand-in-hand. Studies have shown that the olfactory nerve can recall vivid and emotionally charged memories. One reporter discusses it here (full disclosure: I didn't actually read this article, just linked it because it seemed like it made my point; if it doesn't, disregard it). Redolent unites the twin themes of smell and memory.  

A redolent odor brings with it not merely overpowering smell, but it recreates and re-fires the synapses of the brain in which memories await for that perfect smell to bring it all back. For me, leather and the dank, dusty smell of old shops carry redolent odors; in less than a moment after sensing the smell, I'm running through the old, dark concrete hallways, layered in decaying carpet my uncle picked up from the side of the road to outfit his boot shop. Those memories count among the most fond of my childhood. 

The Latin history of the word seems to bear out the English meaning: re(d)-olere. Merriam-Webster reports that olere is "to smell." I'm making a guess here (because my Latin was never very good), but "re-" seems like it might be "again." Ergo, to smell again. Redolent.

Unlike "verdure," I've lost track of where I collected this word. But here it is, for your enjoyment.


From Merriam-Webster:

1. having a strong smell : full of a fragrance or odor

2. causing thoughts or memories of something


Sample sentences:

1. The fragrant citrus plugins spread throughout the room effused an odor redolent of the rotting oranges her grandmother used to keep on her table and foist upon her unsuspecting grandchildren to keep the fruit from being wasted—soft to the point of mushy, sweet to the point of sickness. 

2. The redolent red roses arose in amorous splendor from the tangled hedges, their odor hiding the darker scent of rotting flesh.


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