\ 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 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 The mud, or maybe the drying agent, gave off a reek of sewage. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Inside the Cultish Dreamworld of Augusta National," 14 June 2019 Emmert’s threat to excise the entire left coast reeks of pure desperation and is in no way realistic. Sally Jenkins,, "Commentary: NCAA President Mark Emmert is the lord of a feudal state who knows its time is over," 25 June 2019 To not compensate them equally, or more than their male counterparts — who have nowhere near the women’s success — reeks of old-fashioned misogyny. Lz Granderson,, "Women could help women in sports by showing up to watch," 29 June 2019 Known for being a bit of a jokester, the singer's 40-second preview reeks of haphazard satire and cringe-worthy cheesiness. Abby Jones, Billboard, "John Mayer Reveals Trailer For 'New Light' Video and It's So Bad, It's Almost Good: Watch," 24 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For weekend gardeners, Wednesday pickup meant two extra days of reeking bags of rotting grass clippings in the city of 7,100, Francis said. Stephen Hudak,, "Waste Pro sues Belle Isle mayor, alleging his trash talk cost company a city contract," 24 Sep. 2019 Hundreds of men were packed in a reeking garage at the station in McAllen, Tex. Nick Miroff, Washington Post, "Momentary border reprieve rests on a rickety foundation, as U.S. immigration policies are put to the test," 13 July 2019 Losses against Iowa on Chicago's neutral court and at Tulane reeked of inconsistency, and, ahead of Saturday’s matchup at UCF and next week’s contest at No. Fletcher Page,, "Time for UC Bearcats basketball 'to take the next step' on the road at UCF," 10 Jan. 2020 But the two-game punishment coinciding with missing the Maryland and Rutgers reeks of really, really convenient timing. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Pioneer Press Big Ten football picks: Week 12," 15 Nov. 2019 But above all else, The Hill’s opinion section just reeks of the same laziness Solomon displays. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "The Rot on The Hill," 27 Sep. 2019 The house reeked of dog waste and urine, had insect and mold infestations, and suffered major damage including kitchen appliance fires, according to divorce records and court testimony. Christy Gutowski,, "Two troubled people met at a McHenry County courthouse in 2012. Today, they stand charged in the murder of their 5-year-old son.," 25 Oct. 2019 Maltese authorities regained control of the Hal Far compound Monday around 4 a.m., but the reeking odor of burnt plastic still hung in the air over the former British army barracks, Malta Today reported. Fox News, "Rioting migrants in Malta injure policeman, set cars ablaze at holding center: reports," 21 Oct. 2019 The previous drafts of that letter, however, reeked of my general frustration. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "20 years later, Barry Sanders 'not sure' he'd change his retirement," 22 July 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

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reek.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 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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