Green’s Dictionary of Slang

smeller n.

[positive and negative uses of SE smell v.]

1. (UK Und.) a garden.

[UK]Rowlands Martin Mark-all 41: Smeller a garden, not Smelling cheate, for that’s a Nose-gay.

2. the nose; occas. pl. smellers, nostrils.

[UK]J. Heywood Epigrams upon Proverbs (third hundred) xcvi: The smeller of smellers then, thou art even hee.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Smeller c. a Nose.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[Ire] ‘Luke Caffrey’s Ghost’ in Chap Book Songs 3: He den tip’d de oder a long-arm leg, wid a dig in the smellers.
[UK]Sporting Mag. June IV 180/2: [He] sniffs his broken smeller.
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 23: But a pelt in the smellers (too pretty to shun, / If the lad even could) set it going like fun.
[UK]Jack Randall’s Diary 63: Swift at Bob’s snotty-box, his white fist flew, And soon a shower of the claret hue [...] from Bob’s smellers burst.
[UK]D. Carey Life in Paris 345: Jenkins shook off his assailant [...] by throwing himself into a boxing attitude, and planting a blow on the smeller of the flower-vender.
[US]N.-Y. Eve. Post 10 July 2/4: Spring gave him a right hand rattler upon the smeller.
[UK] ‘Gallery of 140 Comicalities’ Bell’s Life in London 24 June 2/4: Go it my little kid! Have a slap at your mammy’s smeller!
[UK]H. Cockton Valentine Vox 214: He fancied it proper to put on his nose before he alighted from the cab. ‘Oh! oh! there’s a conk! there’s a smeller! Oh! oh!’ exclaimed about fifty voices in chorus.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 11 Oct. 2/5: Scotchie made his right play on Drake’s smeller; first blood.
[UK]Paul Pry 29 Jan. 4/3: ‘Pussey,’ [...] quietly mewed, pawed his smellers, and wagged his tail.
[US]W.C. Hall ‘Mike Hooter’s Bar Story’ Spirit of the Times 26 Jan. (NY) 581: The varmint [...] stood still as a post, with the thumb of his right paw on the eend of his smeller, and wiglin his tother fingers thus.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) II 165: Come on, half a dozen of ye, and let me have a rap at your smellers!
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 14 June 1/2: Jesse’s smeller and the right side of his mug were much disfigured.
Sporting Life (London) 17 Oct. 3/4: Tyler made his left on the [...] left squinter, and Gillam countered him slightly on the smeller.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 103/1: Joe in the twinkling of an eye sent one of his home-made Yorkshire hits full on his ‘smeller,’ and sent him reeling.
[US]A. Pinkerton Mollie Maguires and the Detectives 81: Oh! nothing but a wee flea-bite on me smeller.
Cremorne III 91: Two back eyes and the ruby streaming from his smeller.
Pioche Wkly Record (NV) 30 Jan. n.p.: A sudden sneeze brought his nose in such relations to the razer that his smeller was cut off.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 22 Feb. 3/2: For his uncle’s ‘umbreller’ went straight for his smeller — / But he dodged it, and bade him ‘Good night’.
[UK]W. Pett Ridge Mord Em’ly 203: We’ll stand you one on the smeller! [...] if you go kicking up all this rah!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 20 Oct. 24/2: Every swing and jab [...] smashed up against Arthur’s ‘smeller’.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 30: Hully chee, youse’d t’ink a train o’ cars is comin’ when they comes in rustlin’ wit’ their smellers up in the air!
[UK]Sporting Times 13 June 1/5: He shot out a straight right an’ flops it on the governor’s smeller, an’ I give you my word his boko bled for over ten minutes.
[NZ]Truth (Wellington) 28 Aug. 3/5: The Timaru lad plugged his enemy repeatedly on the smeller and the kisser.
[Aus]Truth (Brisbane) 16 Oct. 3/4: ‘Truth’ never heard of both the English and American languages, unless the: boomster [...] wishes to call ‘tarkin with piece o’ waddin in your smeller’ the American slangwldge.
[US]T.A. Dorgan Daffydils 6 Feb. [synd. cartoon strip] The latter jumped out of the chair [and] planted one on Tony’s smeller.
[US]Hecht & Bodenheim Cutie 40: As his smeller leaned against Cutie’s corn colored hair, he let out one gasp and swallowed his false mustache.
[US]W. Smith Bessie Cotter 48: I ought to’ve busted her right in the smeller.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Dead Man’s Shakedown’ in Dan Turner Detective Mar. [Internet] When some sharp apple snatches a potential stack of lettuce out from under my smeller, I resent it.
[US]A.I. Bezzerides Thieves’ Market 123: My smeller ain’t so good. All I can smell is cigars.

3. a blow on the nose.

[UK]W.T. Moncrieff All at Coventry I ii: Yes, he’s coming the captain Queerman over me! and I must give him a smeller.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 7 Apr. 3/2: Lenney planted a few left and right smellers.
[US]N.Y. Transcript 4 Feb. 2/2–3: Reed let out his left lunge at the body, and received a smeller on the sneezer in exchange.
Hall & Fletcher Life, Adventures, and Opinions of a Liverpool Policeman 223: Ah — ah! but, Mr. M’Gilp, if it hadn’t a been in a place of worship, wouldn’t I have given him a smeller?
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
J. Lucas Studies in Nidderdale 279: SMELLER, a heavy or sharp blow; O.N. Smellr, a smack. ‘Ah’ll gie thee a smeller’.
[US]Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA) 9 July 3/6: Prize Ring Slang [...] Reporters [...] who understood the unaccustomed spectacle so little that they wrote of ‘smellers’ as ‘awful blows’.

4. (US) a spy, a prying person.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 214: smeller [...] a detective.

5. anything exceptional, esp. very strong, very aggressive etc.

Kipling Fleet in Being 55: Good old gales – regular smellers .
[UK]J. Manchon Le Slang.

6. a heavy fall; thus come a smeller, lit. or fig. to tumble down heavily [one SE smells the ground on hitting it].

Bailey’s Mag. May 167: Webb had caught a smeller on the Derby; ’twas Harvey who had landed a pot. The next year Harvey had pulled through; but unlucky Webb had again caught a smeller.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 74: Something suddenly goes wrong with the steering-gear and it skids and comes a smeller in the ditch.

7. (N.Z.) an unpleasant person.

[UK]‘G.B. Lancaster’ Sons O’ Men 235: Walt, yer are a smeller, straight wire.
[NZ] (ref. to late 19C–1900s) McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 104/2: smeller objectionable fellow; from smell.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].

8. (Aus.) a camel.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 Dec. 15/3: David came from the Flying Angel Push in Melbourne [...] They made him off-sider to a camel-puncher named Jim. He had had no experience with smellers; but he took to the job like beer.