\ 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

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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

funk, stench, stink

Synonyms: Verb


Antonyms: Noun

aroma, fragrance, perfume

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Examples of reek in a Sentence


a terrible reek coming from the garbage can couldn't see through the reek of smog and smoke surrounding the steel plant


those old sneakers reek something awful
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 But another part of me is worried that this whole business reeks of quick-fix snake-oil that could drain money and energy away from the solutions to very serious social problems. Charles P. Pierce,, "Royals GM Dayton Moore Makes Bizarre and Troubling Choice to Host Anti-Porn Activists," 21 Mar. 2018 For instance, swiping a small amount of gilded shimmer on the lips instantly imparts a glamorous vibe and practically reeks of romance. Rebecca Shinners, Allure, "Valentine's Day Beauty Trends That Are Popular on Pinterest," 5 Feb. 2018 Union leadership exploits the loophole by steering donations to non-labor organizations that appear apolitical on the surface but reek of partisanship beneath. Richard Berman, Fortune, "Commentary: 40% of Union Members Vote Republican. So Why Does 99% of Union Advocacy Money Go to Liberal Groups?," 17 Jan. 2018 This latest Twitter gambit to make the brand less niche and more popular, however, reeks of desperation. Gregg Opelka, WSJ, "More Isn’t Better for Twitter," 3 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Their crass jokes and ironic, at best, view of race, politics and culture reeked of a sickening good ol’ boys club, a community fostered on lazy, ignorant jokes and fear, the bulk of what unites many 8chan users today. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, "Column: The Player: Yes, Trump is wrong to blame video games for mass shootings, but it’s complicated," 8 Aug. 2019 Inspections had found cells reeking of feces and vomit, overflowing and leaky toilets, and women inmates with hair matted with fecal matter or their clothes streaked with blood. Bill Rankin, ajc, "Judge to Fulton: Fix repulsive jail conditions for mentally ill women," 23 July 2019 The Mystic River in Everett and Somerville reeked as thousands of dead pogies rotted along the shore last summer. Sarah Wu,, "Myriad dead fish have shown up at the Charles River Dam. Could summer heat be the culprit?," 1 Aug. 2019 Guarding him are Congolese soldiers, some of them visibly drunk or reeking of marijuana. The Economist, "How do you reform a country where gunmen torch Ebola clinics?," 2 Aug. 2019 The bedroom reeks pleasantly of timbers, mildew, brick; the kitchen at night races with mice and assassin bugs; and in the pasture the cows moan and ruminate and gather under the shade of the trees to escape the withering sun. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "Ramblin’ Man," 24 June 2019 Somewhere around the end of the first quarter, Curry seemed to decide to pass less and shoot more, especially on would-be drives-and-kicks, because his help was simply not reliable, not reeking of confidence. Scott Ostler,, "Warriors’ ‘Strength in Numbers’ takes Game 3 gut punch. Here’s the reality," 5 June 2019 Get our daily newsletter At first sight, the event reeks of privilege. The Economist, "Debating contests teach Chinese students an argument has two sides," 15 June 2019 Overall, this process reeks of cronyism from the early days of rail. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Caltrain deciding alone, forcing it on everyone," 5 June 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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Dictionary Entries near reek

reef sponge

reef tackle






Statistics for reek

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reek

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reek

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reek

Spanish Central: Translation of reek

Nglish: Translation of reek for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reek for Arabic Speakers

Comments on reek

What made you want to look up reek? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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