- 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.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- vapor; fume
- a strong, unpleasant smell; stench
- Scot., North Eng. smoke
Origin: Middle 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: ME reken < OE reocan
- to expose to the action of smoke or fumes
- to emit or exude (vapor, fumes, etc.)
- reeky adjective
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb reeked, reek·ing, reeks verb, intransitive
- To smoke, steam, or fume.
- To be pervaded by something unpleasant: “This document … reeks of self-pity and self-deception” (Christopher Hitchens).
- To give off or become permeated with a strong unpleasant odor: “Grandma, who reeks of face powder and lilac water” (Garrison Keillor).
- To emit or exude (smoke, for example).
- To process or treat by exposing to the action of smoke.
- A strong offensive odor; a stench. See Synonyms at stench.
- Vapor; steam.
Origin: Middle English reken, to emit smoke, from Old English rēocan, and rēcan, to expose to smoke; see reug- in Indo-European roots.
- reekˈer noun
- reekˈy adjective