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stank ˈstaŋk How to pronounce stink (audio) or stunk ˈstəŋk How to pronounce stink (audio) ; stunk; stinking

intransitive verb

: to emit a strong offensive odor
stank of urine
: to be offensive
the election stank of corruption
also : to be in bad repute
: to possess something to an offensive degree
stinking with wealth
: to be extremely bad or unpleasant
the performance stank
that news really stinks
stinky adjective


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: a strong offensive odor : stench
: a public outcry against something : fuss
made a big stink when asked to leave

Example Sentences

Verb The food is good at that restaurant, but the service stinks. Having a root canal stinks. Noun People raised a stink about the new law. He kicked up a stink about the way he'd been treated.
Recent Examples on the Web
Our picks are all made from high-quality fabrics designed to wick sweat away from your feet, keeping you dry and stink-free. Christian Gollayan, Men's Health, 9 Jan. 2023 There could be many reasons why your furry friend may stink, even after a bath. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 23 Oct. 2022 The Rebels stink in football, but the infrastructure has been upgraded, with a $35 million football center on campus and home games at $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 July 2022 In the new series, sulfurous purple plumes appear when eggs begin to turn, approaching their expiration dates, and Gudetama is starting to stink. Tejal Rao, New York Times, 6 Dec. 2022 Welcome visitors with this festive doormat and don't let Christmas stink, stank, stunk. Emily Rochotte, Good Housekeeping, 22 Nov. 2022 When disturbed or squashed, stink bugs release an unpleasant odor from scent glands on their abdomen, according to the EPA. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 13 Oct. 2022 That number comes from three years of monitoring stink bugs across 17 states, as well as analyzing several potential climate scenarios. Li Cohen, CBS News, 7 Oct. 2022 What’s more, this multi-purpose killer can be used on an array of other insects too, including ants, earwigs, household spiders, stink bugs, and even scorpions. Kat De Naoum, Better Homes & Gardens, 26 Sep. 2022
The ghosts of Cannon Films past hover all around Plane, the sort of politically-confused mediocrity that isn’t campy enough to be industry-dump-month fun and isn’t horrific enough to leave a stink lasting longer than its running time. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 12 Jan. 2023 Sometimes people think the stink is coming from themselves, which can lead to a condition known as olfactory reference syndrome, says Hirsch. NBC News, 21 Dec. 2022 It’s our No. 1 choice this year for guys and gals who want to beat the stink and have clean pits all day long. Dallas News, 30 Nov. 2022 Those baffling decisions to not punt the ball away will leave a stink on coach Dan Lanning well into the offseason. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 27 Nov. 2022 One resident designed a High Acres stink-reporting app that has logged 26,000 complaints. Curbed, 12 Aug. 2022 In New York, the fate of old food has recently inflamed passions and caused a political stink. Anne Barnard, New York Times, 8 Aug. 2022 It's left others inured to the stink of garbage and accidentally drinking spoiled milk. Arkansas Online, 25 Dec. 2022 No one really wanted to linger in the stink of the game. Lee Bosch, Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stink.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English, from Old English stincan; akin to Old High German stinkan to emit a smell

First Known Use


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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near stink

Cite this Entry

“Stink.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
stank ˈstaŋk How to pronounce stink (audio) or stunk ˈstəŋk How to pronounce stink (audio) ; stunk; stinking
: to give off or cause to have an unpleasant smell
the garbage pail stinks
: to be very bad or unpleasant
that news really stinks
stinker noun


2 of 2 noun
: a strong unpleasant odor : stench
: a public outcry against something : fuss
made a big stink when asked to leave

More from Merriam-Webster on stink

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