\ 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
3 : emanate

transitive verb

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

Other Words from reek


reeker noun
reeky \ ˈrē-​kē How to pronounce reek (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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In June, the wharf was stacked high with lobster traps tinging the breeze with the faint reek of their latest catch. Murray Whyte,, 4 Aug. 2022 The judge referred to is Obama appointee Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, whose prior decisions, in my view, largely reek of left-wing activism., 8 Apr. 2022 His 35-inch vertical leap and 4.32 shuttle time reek of explosion and agility. Tyler J. Davis, Detroit Free Press, 22 Mar. 2022 And while Campion's victory represents progress for female recognition in the arts, her comments reek of white privilege, ignoring intersectional challenges faced by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour). Alicia Vrajlal,, 15 Mar. 2022 The volcanic lands of dragons reek of sulfur and smog. Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2022 Chateaus, villas and trophy cult wines that reek of privilege, entitlement and wealth. Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2022 Such shootings at sunset reek of ulterior motives and hidden vendettas. Steven Tian, Fortune, 7 Feb. 2022 So much about this place could be seen as out of step — the sawdust, the reek, the cash-only stance. New York Times, 17 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Siefertson also complained that a few days after testing positive, his cabin and two other cabins near him began to reek of sewage. CNN, 7 May 2022 Such social engineering, and patrician largesse, can reek of neo-colonialism—a charge that Shuttleworth doesn’t dismiss. Mark Ellwood, Robb Report, 30 Jan. 2022 In addition to the area’s stifling heat, the pools reek of rotten eggs. Jack Tamisiea, Scientific American, 22 Dec. 2021 Even his hobbies and personal habits reek of transaction. New York Times, 2 Nov. 2021 Universities allegedly reek with positive spillover effects. Richard Vedder, Forbes, 7 June 2021 Most importantly, the bad losses can reek like days-old gym socks. San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Feb. 2021 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, 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, 2 Mar. 2020 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Reek.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for reek


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on reek

Nglish: Translation of reek for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reek for Arabic Speakers


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