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

Definition of stink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

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



Definition of stink (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from stink


stinky \ ˈstiŋ-​kē How to pronounce stinky (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for stink

Synonyms: Verb


Synonyms: Noun

funk, reek, stench

Antonyms: Noun

aroma, fragrance, perfume

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Examples of stink in a Sentence


The food is good at that restaurant, but the service stinks. Having a root canal stinks.


People raised a stink about the new law. He kicked up a stink about the way he'd been treated.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In addition to stink bugs, lace bugs, cucumber beetles, caterpillars and other insects eating on the flower and vegetable plants, slugs and snails have been very active. Calvin Finch,, "How to control weeds in your summer lawn and garden," 28 June 2019 If the new rules stink, the league can scrap them after one season. Joe Nguyen, The Denver Post, "Why NFL’s expanded instant replay is step in right direction," 21 June 2019 China’s stink bug phalanxes might not be quite so sci-fi in their killing. Gwynn Guilford, Quartz, "Ravenous armyworms are eating their way across China," 20 June 2019 After a brief prologue set in 1862 on the Cape of Good Hope, Mosse’s epic opens in a stinking prison cell in Toulouse. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "A lush tale of love and hate and religion and politics," 20 June 2019 Here cold neoclassical buildings supplanted some of the crowding, twisting, stinking, living streets of the medieval town. Bruce Dale, National Geographic, "Adored, neglected, and restored: A 1968 Nat Geo feature explored Notre Dame," 17 Apr. 2019 The whole thing stinks of entrapment, though the curious question was how the Flynn defense team got the details. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Checking Robert Mueller," 13 Dec. 2018 The bitter divorce battle between billionaire bond king Bill Gross and his ex-wife is beginning to stink — like vomit, flatulence and dead fish. Carleton English, Fox News, "Bill Gross made disputed home with ex-wife stink like vomit, dead fish with foul-smelling sprays: lawsuit," 18 June 2018 Any time a coach/manager says his team tried really hard, that team stinks. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc: Is who the Reds have now better than who they've dumped?," 8 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For example, females of some species of stink bug nestle a fecal pellet near freshly laid eggs to serve as the larvae’s first meal, thereby inoculating them with their mother’s gut microbiome. Quanta Magazine, "Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us?," 20 Nov. 2018 Ridge Merino Inversion Midweight Crew Merino Wool Base Layer ($65) Transition from a hike to a long car ride without the stink with this moisture-wicking 100 percent merino base layer. Janna Irons, Outside Online, "Essential Gear for Road-Trip Season," 23 Apr. 2018 This method may also cause a bit of a stink (seriously!); the microwave should only be used as a last resort. Amy Mitchell, Country Living, "How to Ripen an Avocado Fast," 3 May 2019 The iCloud web app stinks, and iCloud for Windows is far more complicated to use than other services. David Pierce, WSJ, "Cluttered Phone and Computer? Put Your Files in the Cloud," 9 Sep. 2018 In retrospect, the desire for anonymity had a stink about it. Alexander Huls, Popular Mechanics, "The Great Star Wars Heist," 7 Mar. 2019 Chumming activity will offer the best angling opportunities using a variety of stink baits. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Fishing report: Catfish action picking up in Kansas, Missouri lakes," 11 July 2018 Although the long-term costs to the economy and taxpayers were relatively light, the stink of political favors for an antiquated industry didn’t sit well with voters. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ and the bad luck of George H.W. Bush," 4 Dec. 2018 Republicans have not been making a big stink about Pruitt Trump is facing lots of pressure from Republicans on lots of different fronts. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "Why does Scott Pruitt still have his job? 4 theories.," 6 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of stink


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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stink


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

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Statistics for stink

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for stink

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

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More Definitions for stink



English Language Learners Definition of stink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to have a very bad smell
: to do something very poorly
: to be very low in quality



English Language Learners Definition of stink (Entry 2 of 2)

: a very bad smell
informal : a situation in which someone complains in a very angry and often public way


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

Kids Definition of stink

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to give off or cause to have a strong unpleasant smell The garbage stinks.
2 : to be very bad or unpleasant That news really stinks.



Kids Definition of stink (Entry 2 of 2)

: a strong unpleasant smell

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More from Merriam-Webster on stink

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stink

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stink

Spanish Central: Translation of stink

Nglish: Translation of stink for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stink for Arabic Speakers

Comments on stink

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characterized by aphorism

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