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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
That’s entirely thanks to a synthetic blend fabric (97% polyester / 3% elastane) that wicks away sweat and moisture like a champ, while keeping foot stink at bay. Mike Richard, Men's Health, 3 Mar. 2023 Sewages can stink for many reasons, but one of the main culprits is a clogged pipe. Chandra Fleming, Detroit Free Press, 21 Oct. 2022 Common culprits include the areas around chimneys, windows, recessed lights, stink pipes, and wet walls, Taylor said. Jon Gorey,, 12 June 2022 Housebound Americans are buying more air fresheners, scented candles and pungent cleaners to overcome one of humanity’s deep social fears—that visitors will think their abodes stink to high heaven. Sharon Terlep, WSJ, 5 Jan. 2022 Opponents lobbed stink bombs at the theater where the film premiered in Madrid, and the right-wing press condemned the picture. Adam Bernstein, Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2023 The Broncos stink, but the game is in Mile High, and Denver just scared the Chiefs in K.C. Nick Canepacolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Jan. 2023 This is gonna be all day, the meat’s gonna start to stink, etc. Vulture, 14 Nov. 2022 Andy Brunning, Compound Interest) Two of the elements stink. Mark Lorch, Discover Magazine, 9 June 2016
One of the toughest tests was blasting clean three large commercial trash cans with bottoms awash in a nauseating soup of summer stink. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 21 Feb. 2023 In the early stages of free agency, Cowboys’ fans raised a stink on social media about some of the roster moves. Dallas News, 21 Mar. 2022 Business groups plan to raise a stink about the debt that California’s unemployment insurance fund owes the federal government, which ballooned during the pandemic as more workers lost their jobs and collected benefits. Grace Gedye, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Jan. 2022 Or, for those less cynical and perhaps for the singer herself, the lesson was more hopeful (but somehow more exhausting) — Beyoncé would always be great, so why make a stink. Helena Andrews-dyer, Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2023 Pence would be proximate enough to gain Trumpist credibility, while distant enough to avoid the stink of it all. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 31 Jan. 2023 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 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 23 Mar. 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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