I have read "Cette année on sent la crise" at https://french.yabla.com/lesson-Feeling-in-French-Sentir-Se-sentir-Ressentir-670 , but I can't find any meaning related to it in the definition of "sentir" in the Larousse dictionary ( https://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/sentir/72147). However, I find a related meaning in the definition of "ressentir" (https://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/ressentir/68722) :

Être particulièrement affecté par quelque chose, éprouver, subir les effets de quelque chose. Exemple: Pays qui ressent les contrecoups de la crise économique.

Thus, it seems obvious to me that "ressentir" may be used in my first sentence. Would it be correct/usual to use "sentir" in it?

  • Cette annee on sent la crise.= This year we are smelling the crisis. [haha] Cette annee on ressent la crise. This year we are feeling the [economic] crisis.
    – Lambie
    Aug 21, 2019 at 15:25
  • I meant if "sentir" can be used in the sentence with the meaning of "to feel", not "to smell". Aug 21, 2019 at 15:40
  • 1
    Actually, there is another phrasing to consider: "Ça sent la crise à plein nez". Aug 21, 2019 at 16:37

2 Answers 2


On sent la crise is correct and idiomatic.

The meaning is close to the one of on ressent la crise but sentir is more direct, physical here (we feel the pain of the crisis) while ressentir is more indirect, emotional (we feel the consequences of the crisis).

TLFi Sentir

I. − [Le suj. désigne un être vivant doué de sensibilité] Percevoir, éprouver une sensation, une impression.
A. − [Par l'intermédiaire des sens (excepté la vue et l'ouïe)]
1. Percevoir, éprouver une sensation physique qui renseigne sur l'état de l'organisme ou sur le milieu extérieur.

TLFi Ressentir

I. − Empl. trans.
B. − Éprouver vivement dans son âme ou dans son esprit l'effet d'une cause extérieure.


The verb "sentir" is primary interpreted as "to smell" but it can also means "to feel".

Je sens que cette année va être une bonne année pour nos affaires.

I feel this year will be good for our business.

This kind of expression is common in French and some others languages based on Latin.

Example: I feel bad

  • (French) je me sens mal.

  • (Italian) mi sento male.

  • (Spanish) me siento mal.

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