It smells absolutely rotten and offensive. Birds are falling from the sky because of the fumes. You might throw up from one whiff. Whatever it is, it reeks.

Shakespeare famously wrote about the “breath that from my mistress reeks,” but that’s not a nice way to talk about a girlfriend. The word usually describes smells, but can also be used to suggest something fishy, as in “the suspicious transactions reeked of mob involvement.” But noses everywhere agree: Whether it’s coming from your sneakers or from the aftermath of a shady deal, if something reeks — it stinks to high heaven.

Definitions of reek
  1. verb

    give off smoke, fumes, warm vapour, steam, etc.

    reeking in the sun”
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    type of:

    emit, give off, give out

    give off, send forth, or discharge; as of light, heat, or radiation, vapor, etc.

  2. verb

    smell badly and offensively

    “The building
    reeks of smoke”
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    type of:


    smell bad

  3. noun

    a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant

    fetor, foetor, malodor, malodour, mephitis, stench, stink
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    niff, pong

    an unpleasant smell
    type of:

    odor, odour, olfactory perception, olfactory sensation, smell

    the sensation that results when olfactory receptors in the nose are stimulated by particular chemicals in gaseous form

  4. verb

    have an element suggestive (of something)

    smack, smell

  5. verb

    be wet with sweat or blood, as of one’s face

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    type of:

    exudate, exude, ooze, ooze out, transude

    release (a liquid) in drops or small quantities

Word Family