reek

1 of 2

noun

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

reek

2 of 2

verb

reeked; reeking; reeks

intransitive verb

1
: to emit smoke or vapor
2
a
: 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

transitive verb

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

Example Sentences

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
Imagine waking up one morning after recovering from Covid-19 to find that your coffee smells like unwashed socks, your eggs reek of feces and your orange juice tastes metallic. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 1 Oct. 2022 Still, the stunts—then as now—reek of exploitation, and the victims are those least equipped to resist. Philip Elliott, Time, 16 Sep. 2022 Though certain men have glamour—Idris Elba and Harry Styles both reek of it—there is no denying that glamour is essentially female in nature. Simon Doonan, ELLE Decor, 25 Aug. 2022 In June, the wharf was stacked high with lobster traps tinging the breeze with the faint reek of their latest catch. Murray Whyte, BostonGlobe.com, 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. orlandosentinel.com, 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, refinery29.com, 15 Mar. 2022 The volcanic lands of dragons reek of sulfur and smog. Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2022
Verb
Body odor gets a bad rap, but a person’s fragrance doesn’t have to reek like teenage boys after sports practice. Roni Dengler, Discover Magazine, 11 Sep. 2018 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 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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near reek

Cite this Entry

“Reek.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reek. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

reek

1 of 2 noun
1
2
: a strong or disagreeable fume or odor

reek

2 of 2 verb
1
: to give off smoke or vapor
2
a
: to have a strong or unpleasant smell
the kitchen reeks of garlic
clothes reeking of tobacco smoke
b
: to give a strong impression of some feature or quality
she reeks of snobbery
reeky adjective

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