Thought of this while smelling some money:

It is impossible to describe a smell without relating it to another smell. If you were talking to a person with no nose how would you describe the smell of a freshly cut orange, or the toilet after school camp serves shellfish.

Same goes for sound really, except deaf people can often still 'feel' alot of sounds.
Sverre, actually we taste in our noses much more than we do with our tongues. Your tongue really only tells you Bitter/Sweet/Sour/Salty, while your nose says Oranges/Mashed Potato/Red Wine. This is why Wine Tasters place so much importance on smelling the wine before they taste it.

You can notice this if you try eating while holding your nose, or when you have a cold. Food tastes different, because you only get part of the flavour.

I have found that one way to attempt to describe a smell, would be to use words that describe feeling or texture, such as rough, sharp, smooth, bland and round. That is, using other senses that the other person might know. The main reason we find it hard to describe a given smell is because our language has few words that are actually related to smells. As an example, I would describe the smell of Danish money, the Krone, as dry.

Another trait that is impossible to describe is color.

Audited October 6, 2001

This applies to all senses. It is impossible to describe a sensory impression without comparing it to other impressions with the same sense. Example: feel a mug. Perhaps it feels cold and hard, which are both something that can't be comprehended without the sense of touch.

This is, as I see it, one of the main philosophical problems with our senses. You can never be sure that your senses work just like everyone else's, since there is no common frame of reference.

That said, I sometimes feel that taste and smell is closely enough related that I can describe one with the other. Something can smell and taste "the same" (for example, sweet).

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