"Give out" or "Give off" a smell?

  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Hello bonbebim,  :) 

    That is very broad question.  We need a specific sentence to discuss.  
    Here is a definition of give out from our dictionary:
    give out be completely used up.
    ■ stop functioning.​
    Below the definition is a list of threads discussing that phrase.  They may be helpful. 

    Or, you can follow the instructions here to find examples using 'give out' in newspapers:
    Finding Examples in Context
    If you have a question about any of the sentences you find, you are welcome to start a thread to ask it.  


    Actually this is something i found in Longman dictionary of contemporary English

    give out sth
    to produce something such as light, heat, or a signal
     A gas lamp gave out a pale yellowish light.
    give off [give off sth] phr v
    to produce a smell, light, heat, a sound etc
    The wood gave off a sweet, perfumed smell as it burned.
    Try not to breathe in the fumes given off by the paint.
    And as a result, i was confused and unable to differentiate between these two phrasal verbs! Can you help me figure this out?


    Senior Member
    Bonbebim, I think that "give out" is best reserved for things like "light" or "heat", I would never use it with "smell", nor have I ever heard or seen anyone say that. Give out something and give off something might take on similar meanings, the difference being that smell doesn't go with the first one.

    By the way - could you, kindly, change your avatar? If it's what I think it is, it's distasteful...
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