2informalto find or recognize something because you have a natural ability to do this [= sniff out]:
They'll be able to smell out any corruption.
GRAMMAR GRAMMAR You can say that something smells good, bad, strange etc.!! Use an adjective, never an adverb• You smell wonderful (NOT wonderfully) - what perfume is that?In British English, you can use smell with ofto say what something smells like• Her jacket smelled of smoke (NOT smelled smoke).If you say that something or someone smells, you mean they have a bad smell• Your socks smell.If you can smell something or you smellsomething, you notice its smell• I can smell coffee. • We smelled smoke.!! You do not say 'feel a smell'.
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.