fet·​id | \ ˈfe-təd How to pronounce fetid (audio) , especially British ˈfē-tid \

Definition of fetid

: having a heavy offensive smell a fetid swamp

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Other Words from fetid

fetidly adverb
fetidness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for fetid

malodorous, stinking, fetid, noisome, putrid, rank, fusty, musty mean bad-smelling. malodorous may range from the unpleasant to the strongly offensive. malodorous fertilizers stinking and fetid suggest the foul or disgusting. prisoners were held in stinking cells the fetid odor of skunk cabbage noisome adds a suggestion of being harmful or unwholesome as well as offensive. a stagnant, noisome sewer putrid implies particularly the sickening odor of decaying organic matter. the putrid smell of rotting fish rank suggests a strong unpleasant smell. rank cigar smoke fusty and musty suggest lack of fresh air and sunlight, fusty also implying prolonged uncleanliness, musty stressing the effects of dampness, mildew, or age. a fusty attic the musty odor of a damp cellar

Examples of fetid in a Sentence

a fetid pool of water the fetid odor of rotting vegetables
Recent Examples on the Web QAnon began in October of 2017, in the fetid corners of the anonymous online message board 4chan. Talia Lavin, The New Republic, "QAnon, Blood Libel, and the Satanic Panic," 29 Sep. 2020 Yet that clarity was always challenged in the fetid Mississippi air that Faulkner, like all his characters, had to breathe. Drew Gilpin Faust, The Atlantic, "What to Do About William Faulkner," 8 Aug. 2020 Not only is the fetid smell effective, but the color of the flowers always includes some variation on the theme of dark red, brown and purple usually in marbled patterns and sometimes streaked with cream to resemble fatty meat. Dan Gill, NOLA.com, "Dan Gill's mailbag: What is this weird, beautiful succulent that smells like rotten meat?," 5 Aug. 2020 City residents were dumping trash and sewage in the marshes, creating fetid dumps that spread waterborne diseases. Richard Lebrasseur, The Know, "Parks matter more than ever during a time of sickness — something understood in the 19th century," 21 May 2020 Speaking of bracing challenges to business as usual, the invaluable Kate Aronoff offers an update on New York City activists’ plans to turn the fetid penal colony on Rikers Island into a solar farm. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "What Stands in the Way of Making the Climate a Priority," 24 June 2020 In 2009, after years of inaction, government agencies evacuated the bunkhouse, which had devolved into a fetid firetrap of neglect. Dan Barry, New York Times, "Willie Levi, 73, Dies; He Escaped a Life of Servitude," 30 Apr. 2020 Rank and fetid smells gave way to a world that valued pleasant and deodorized smells. Mark M. Smith, The Conversation, "Welcome to your sensory revolution, thanks to the pandemic," 27 Apr. 2020 En route to the Trojan War, Philoctetes had the misfortune of stepping on unmarked sacred ground and was punished for his unwitting transgression with a snakebite that left his foot ulcerated and fetid. Los Angeles Times, "Review: At the Getty Villa, Sophocles gets wounded in Aaron Posner’s revamp of ‘Philoctetes’," 6 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fetid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fetid

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fetid

Middle English, from Latin foetidus, from foetēre to stink

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Time Traveler for fetid

Time Traveler

The first known use of fetid was in the 15th century

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Statistics for fetid

Last Updated

3 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fetid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fetid. Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for fetid


How to pronounce fetid (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fetid

: having a strong, unpleasant smell


variants: also foetid \ ˈfet-​əd, especially British ˈfē-​tid \

Medical Definition of fetid

: having a heavy offensive smell

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