\ ˈrēk How to pronounce reek (audio) \

Definition of reek

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 chiefly dialectal : smoke
2 : vapor, fog
3 : a strong or disagreeable fume or odor


reeked; reeking; reeks

Definition of reek (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to emit smoke or vapor
2a : to give off or become permeated with a strong or offensive odor a room reeking of incense
b : to give a strong impression of some constituent quality or feature a neighborhood that reeks of poverty

transitive verb

1 : to subject to the action of smoke or vapor
2 : exude, give off a politician who reeks charm

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Other Words from reek


reeker noun
reeky \ ˈrē-​kē How to pronounce reeky (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for reek

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of reek in a Sentence

Noun a terrible reek coming from the garbage can couldn't see through the reek of smog and smoke surrounding the steel plant Verb those old sneakers reek something awful
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Right people mean individuals that reek of your company’s core values. Tom Cooney And Crystal Faulkner,, "BusinessWise: How to increase accountability in your business," 9 June 2020 If theme parks, with their pasteboard main streets, reek of a bland, safe, homogenized, white bread America, the Renaissance Faire is at the other end of the social spectrum, a whiff of the occult, a flash of danger and a hint of the erotic. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wenches and knights, take note: The Bristol Renaissance Faire cancels its 2020 season," 2 June 2020 Critics say Mohler’s reversal on Trump reeks of opportunism and inconsistency. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "Evangelical leader who once denounced Trump embraces him now. Is it political opportunism?," 26 Apr. 2020 The junipers' oily aroma overwhelmed even our own piquant reek. John Phillips, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1995 Land Rover Defender 90 Goes Nowhere, Man," 24 Mar. 2020 Mortal Kombat 11's story mode is polished and reeks of high-budget CGI and is compelling even with some cheesy voice acting. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2019," 24 Dec. 2019 Lopatin: To me, a saxophone solo -- or any solo, but particularly saxophone solos -- reeks of New York City. Monica Castillo, Billboard, "Daniel Lopatin and Josh Safdie Dig Deep For the 'Uncut Gems' Score," 12 Dec. 2019 Orchids pollinated by flies or carrion beetles are often brown and reek of rotting flesh. Katy Kelleher, Longreads, "The Ugly History of Beautiful Things: Orchids," 9 Oct. 2019 Trump and Giuliani say the incident reeks of corruption. Ron Kampeas,, "The Trump-Ukraine controversy, and the Jews involved, explained," 24 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bruised, bloodied, and reeking of fuel, the three men were handcuffed in the back of a police truck and driven to a hospital in Toluca. Seth Harp, Harper's Magazine, "In Harm’s Way," 27 Apr. 2020 Bruised, bloodied, and reeking of fuel, the three men were handcuffed in the back of a police truck and driven to a hospital in Toluca. Seth Harp, Harper's magazine, "In Harm’s Way," 2 Mar. 2020 On the way down, the elevator reeked of seventy-five-per-cent-alcohol disinfectant. Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, "Life on Lockdown in China," 23 Mar. 2020 This request reeks of corruption and raises many legal and ethical questions. Fox News, "New York Democrat sought $100G in state funding for nonexistent ‘think tank’," 24 Nov. 2019 Though, uh, hey: At least no one in Riverdale will have to deal with a character who reeks of soup. Kaitlin Reilly,, "Is Riverdale Really Bringing Us Jughead’s Identical Cousin Souphead?," 5 Mar. 2020 Two bolted-down single beds lined a wall; our small bathroom reeked of sewage and diesel. New York Times, "Relationships Move Fast on a Slow Cargo Ship," 3 Apr. 2020 Three years ago in northwest China, in a rancid hotel room that reeked of cigarettes and booze, plainclothes police pressed Ablatt Mahsut for answers. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, "One American Uyghur’s vow: ‘I should’ve gone public a long time ago.’," 1 Apr. 2020 The mistakes which put the Browns in this awkward position up 19 yards reeked of careless penalties. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Why has the Browns’ third down conversion rate improved by 12 percent in recent weeks? -- Film Review," 13 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reek.' 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 reek


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for reek


Middle English rek, from Old English rēc; akin to Old High German rouh smoke

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Time Traveler for reek

Time Traveler

The first known use of reek was before the 12th century

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Statistics for reek

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reek.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for reek



English Language Learners Definition of reek

: to have a very strong and unpleasant smell
usually disapproving used to say that it is very obvious that someone or something has a lot of a specified thing usually + of


\ ˈrēk How to pronounce reek (audio) \

Kids Definition of reek

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a strong or unpleasant smell


reeked; reeking

Kids Definition of reek (Entry 2 of 2)

: to have a strong or unpleasant smell

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More from Merriam-Webster on reek

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reek

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reek

Spanish Central: Translation of reek

Nglish: Translation of reek for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reek for Arabic Speakers

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