Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb οζω (ozo) means to smell in the sense of exuding a scent (not in the sense of detecting one). Our verb says nothing about whether the smell exuded is a pleasant or foul smell, and in the classics our verb is used to describe any emanation from the fragrant emissions of flowers to the rotting stench of a corpse — even the figurative scent of wisdom rising from the clothes of whoever recites the latest verse (Aristophanes.Wasps.1054).
Our verb οζω (ozo) derived from an older verb "oddo", which in turn stemmed from the same widely attested Proto-Indo-European root "hed-", to smell, that gave English its nouns "odor" and "oil" (originally a fragrant plant extract) and of course the first part of the noun "olfaction" or "sense of smell".
Several studies (Kovacs, 2004; Hoover, 2010) suggest that smell (i.e. processing and distinguishing physical molecules so as to derive a picture of the environment) was the first sense and arose when life was still entirely single-cellular. That means that olfaction is actually the ultimate ancestor of our celebrated human consciousness: the Adam of our minds
As we discuss more elaborately in our article on γαμος (gamos), marriage, one of the signs that very early humans began to be distinguished from their animal brethren was a detrimental decline in their powers of olfaction. This caused men to no longer smell the difference between sisters and potential mates, and this in turn resulted in a huge wave of inbreeding. But somehow the link was made, and marriage was invented by making a cultural differentiation between sisters and potential mates (in the Bible told in the triple cycle of the Ruler and the Compromised Couple: Genesis 12:17, 20:3 and 26:8). And thus began human civilization: in the "invention" of the wife.
The invention of the wife may even have preceded the domestication of animals. Said otherwise: the wife (δαμαρ, damar) was the first creature to be tamed and domesticated (δαμαζω, damazo). This is significant to our story, because the ultimate purpose of our human mind is to enable us to collectively form God's bride (Revelation 19:7): no longer a natural creature that reaches for its Creator by an innate instinct, but rather an enlightened collective in a state of ελευθερια (eleutheria), or freedom-by-law.
In the New Testament our verb οζω (ozo), to smell, is used in John 11:39 only. But from it derives:
- Together with the adverb ευ (eu), meaning good: the noun ευωδια (euodia), meaning good smell or pleasant odor (2 Corinthians 2:15, Ephesians 5:2 and Philippians 4:18 only).
- The noun οσμη (osme), meaning a smell, irrespective of whether it's a pleasant one or not (2 Corinthians 2:16). This noun is used 6 times; see full concordance.