natural body smell

sounds to me as "smells badly"

natural body odor

also smells badly - something "stinks"

natural body fragrance

a pleasant, sweet smell, also after using perfume.

Is there a neutral word that I can use?

  • 3
    +1. But it would be better if there was some context. For example, describe a situation in which you would like to use that collocation. – user18856 Jun 15 '15 at 9:17

natural body odor is usually an unpleasant smell. While it is the proper scientific term, it is associated to sweating and bad hygiene in ads. So I wouldn't use it unless you are writing a scientific piece.

natural body smell is pleasant if and only if you add "pleasant". It's a neutral term, but that means you have to specify "good" or "bad" and without adjectives most people will assume "bad"

natural body fragrance definitely makes me think of something pleasant. But if you wear perfume or cologne, it's not natural any more :)

How about scent?

  • 1
    You're spot-on: there is no standard neutral or positive word because the smell is not positive or neutral. It is unpleasant (which is why we encourage regular showers, good hygiene, and even products like deodorant and antiperspirant). If OP wants a neutral or positive term, they're going to have to construct a phrase using neutral or positive adjectives. – Dan Bron Jun 15 '15 at 11:53

If your intention is to refer to a distinctive odor that is pleasant, use :

  • aroma,
  • fragrance,
  • scent.

Unlike its foul-smelling cousin the "odor", an "aroma" smells but never stinks.


Good question.

I think while 'smell' may represent 'bad' and 'good' both, 'odor', in almost all cases, is 'bad'. I've never encountered something with 'good odor'!

Said that, I'd prefer...

Body's natural smell

Note: When we talk about 'smell' it's either 'bad' or 'good'. In between comes 'smell-less' or 'odorless'. Hence, if the 'body' you are defining 'sweaty', it'd have 'odor', if the body is sprayed with 'deo', it'd have 'fragrance'. If it's neither of the cases, it's probably 'odor/smell less'.

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