- To reek is to smell strongly of something unpleasant, or to give off a sense of something unpleasant.
- When you douse yourself in cheap perfume and people two tables over can smell you, this is an example of a time when you reek of perfume.
- When your boss promotes his son to President of the company even though his son isn't qualified, this is an example of a situation where the hiring decision reeks of nepotism.
This sock reeks.
- vapor; fume
- a strong, unpleasant smell; stench
- Scot., North Eng. smoke
Origin of reekMiddle English ; from Old English rec, akin to Old Norse reykr, German rauch ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Indo-European base an unverified form reug-, cloud, smoke
- to give off steam or smoke
- to have a strong, offensive smell
- to be permeated with anything very unpleasant
Origin of reekME reken < OE reocan
- to expose to the action of smoke or fumes
- to emit or exude (vapor, fumes, etc.)
intransitive verbreeked, reek·ing, reeks
- To give off a strong unpleasant odor: “Grandma, who reeks of face powder and lilac water” (Garrison Keillor).
- To be pervaded by something unpleasant: “This document &ellipsis; reeks of self-pity and self-deception” (Christopher Hitchens).
- Chiefly British To smoke, steam, or fume.
- A strong offensive odor; a stench. See Synonyms at stench.
- Chiefly British Smoke or vapor.
Origin of reekMiddle English reken, to emit smoke, from Old English rēocan, to emit smoke, and rēcan, to expose to smoke; see reug- in Indo-European roots.
From Middle English rek, reke (“smoke”), from Old English rēc, rīec, from Proto-Germanic *raukiz (compare West Frisian reek, riik, Dutch rook, Low German Röök, German Rauch, Danish røg, Norwegian røyk), from Proto-Indo-European *rougi- (compare Lithuanian rū̃kti ‘to smoke’, rū̃kas ‘smoke, fog’, Albanian regj ‘to tan’).
(third-person singular simple present reeks, present participle reeking, simple past and past participle reeked)
- (archaic, intransitive) To be emitted or exhaled, emanate, as of vapour or perfume.
- To have or give off a strong, unpleasant smell.
- You reek of perfume.
- Your fridge reeks of egg.
- (figuratively) To be evidently associated with something unpleasant.
- The boss appointing his nephew as a director reeks of nepotism.
From Middle English reken ‘to smoke’, from Old English rēocan, from Proto-Germanic *reukaną (compare Dutch ruiken, Low German rüken, German riechen, Danish ryge, Swedish ryka), from Proto-Indo-European *rougi. See above.
Probably a transferred use (after Irish cruach stack (of corn), pile, mountain, hill) of a variant of rick (with which it is cognate).