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stink·​ing ˈstiŋ-kiŋ How to pronounce stinking (audio)
: strong and offensive to the sense of smell
stinking garbage
slang : offensively drunk
: contemptible, lousy
often used as an intensive
the whole stinking affair
stinkingly adverb


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: to an extreme degree
got stinking drunk
Choose the Right Synonym for stinking

malodorous, stinking, fetid, noisome, putrid, rank, fusty, musty mean bad-smelling.

malodorous may range from the unpleasant to the strongly offensive.

malodorous fertilizers

stinking and fetid suggest the foul or disgusting.

prisoners were held in stinking cells
the fetid odor of skunk cabbage

noisome adds a suggestion of being harmful or unwholesome as well as offensive.

a stagnant, noisome sewer

putrid implies particularly the sickening odor of decaying organic matter.

the putrid smell of rotting fish

rank suggests a strong unpleasant smell.

rank cigar smoke

fusty and musty suggest lack of fresh air and sunlight, fusty also implying prolonged uncleanliness, musty stressing the effects of dampness, mildew, or age.

a fusty attic
the musty odor of a damp cellar

Examples of stinking in a Sentence

Adjective Put out that stinking cigar. came home from their trip to find stinking garbage that had been left in the kitchen Adverb a huge, showy house that screams, “We're stinking rich!”
Recent Examples on the Web
This is about a team with a top-10 payroll whose GM committed too stinking much of it to dogs that can’t, or won’t, pull the sled. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, 22 Dec. 2019 Muttaiah said the man inside the stinking manhole was working without any safety equipment — no gloves, no shoes, no supplemental oxygen. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, 16 Dec. 2019 GothamGetty Images Aren't expectant parents Jenna Dewan and Steve Kazee just so stinking cute? Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, 3 Dec. 2019 Second, the Huskies covered the spread as the favorite one stinking time? Mike Anthony,, 29 Aug. 2019 The area included a stinking heap: years of goat dung in layers up to a foot thick. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, 28 Aug. 2019 Man, that’s one crazy set of numbers, not to mention a stinking pile of horse manure, as the two long-revered defenders continue to make one sensational play after another . . Bruce Jenkins,, 19 July 2019 But his mechanics were already pretty stinking good. Robert Klemko,, 15 July 2019 Eventually, more fat, oil, and grease congeal onto the mess and build up into giant stinking globs. National Geographic, 16 Aug. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stinking.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


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


1887, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near stinking

Cite this Entry

“Stinking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

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