Genesis 8:21 says "Odōrātusque est Dominus odōrem suāvitātis". What is "odoratus est"? It looks like the perfect passive participle of "odoro", but that doesn't make sense either semantically or with "odorem". Is there a deponent "odor" that means "to smell"?

1 Answer 1


There is indeed another verb, the deponent odoror, odorari:

I.to smell at, examine by smelling (cf. olfacio).
I. Lit.: “pallam,” Plaut. Men. 1, 2, 55.—
B. Transf., to smell out, detect by the scent; to scent: “ibo odorans, quasi canis venaticus,” Plaut. Mil. 2, 2, 113: “cibum,” Hor. Epod. 6, 10: “hominem,” Col. 6, 2: “vultures sagacius odorantur,” Plin. 10, 69, 88, § 191: “bellum,” Vulg. Job, 39, 25.—

Because it is deponent, the perfect tense is formed with the perfect passive participle and the present tense of est. So oderatus est dominus is "the lord smelled [something]."

Note that this is the verb that means "to smell a thing", whereas the primary meaning of odoro, odorare is "to cause to have a smell" (i.e. "to perfume a thing").

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