Anosmia – no sense of smell

Functional anosmia – person able to detect occasional odours but having no practical day-to-day sense of smell

Hyposmia – a reduced sense of smell

Hyper/super-osmia – an enhanced sense of smell

Parosmia – a distortion of the sense of smell in the presence of a stimulus

Cacosmia – an unpleasant form of parosmia

Dysosmia – a non-specific term referring to a disturbance in the sense of smell

Phantosmia – sensation of a smell in the absence of a stimulus (‘Phantom’ smells)


Sniffin’ Sticks – Pen-like devices that dispense odours, used in the clinical evaluation of olfactory function

Olfaction – The sense of smell

Olfactory nerve – The nerve – consisting of a bundle of many sensory fibres – that transmits impulses from the olfactory receptor cells to the brain

Olfactory Neurones or Receptor Cells – These are cells embedded in a layer of mucous membrane at the top of the nasal cavity that generate an impulse on detection of an odour molecule from whatever substance we are smelling.  Humans have around 6 million receptor cells in each nostril

Umami – Widely accepted as the fifth basic taste.  Umami is a Japanese word which means ‘pleasant savoury taste’, and is the taste of glutamic acid, more commonly known as glutamate.