Definition of fetid in English:


(also foetid)


  • Smelling extremely unpleasant.

    ‘the fetid water of the marsh’
    • ‘We are all facing death, these movies say, and when we smell its fetid breath we have only two choices.’
    • ‘Even in the fetid water of a city canal there are ducks and the occasional rainbow.’
    • ‘It smelled of fetid water and decaying food; the French Quarter was quiet for the first time in hundreds of years.’
    • ‘The dog snapped its jaws open and closed inches from Rae's face and he could smell the animal's fetid breath, choking him, causing him to gag.’
    • ‘The councillors pointed out everyone knew cholera was due to miasma, the rising of bad smells from the foetid surrounds.’
    • ‘What yesterday had been a hog lot, was now a small, fetid swamp, water bubbling up in the middle.’
    • ‘Down the embankment, paddle through four inches of fetid water and soon we were engulfed by darkness.’
    • ‘He warned that the fetid water could spread disease and that natural gas was leaking all over town.’
    • ‘I stumbled to the swamp and drank the fetid water, coughing half of it back up again.’
    • ‘None of the plants can be seen from the interstate, but their presence is betrayed by the fetid smell of factory effluents.’
    • ‘Hog waste is a major pollution source, communities surrounding the factories are strangled by a foetid stench and animal rights groups have long complained about the inhumane way pigs are raised and slaughtered.’
    • ‘They are still no showers for people who have walked for hours through fetid waters.’
    • ‘And pot smoke lends a piquant tinge to the smell of fetid sweat.’
    • ‘In the wards, children are crowded two and three in a bed in airless rooms, foetid with the smell of kerosene heaters.’
    • ‘By the early hours of Sunday morning the fire was under control but days later the streets around the city's southside were blocked off and the air was fetid with the smell of damp smoke.’
    • ‘The water had become fetid, he explained, and he'd lost two crocodiles in as many years.’
    • ‘These were not only a pleasure to look down upon from a bedroom window but sent up clouds of agreeable smells to mitigate the fetid interiors.’
    • ‘The fetid sour smell of garlic, garum and stale wine on his breath overwhelmed Yohanna and she gasped for air.’
    • ‘The spectre of disease also haunted recovery efforts with doctors fearing the foetid waters and squalid conditions in shelters could breed cholera or typhoid, or mosquitoes carrying malaria or West Nile virus.’
    • ‘She lived and worked night after night in stinking tenements and foetid shelters packed with unwashed humans.’
    stinking, smelly, foul-smelling, evil-smelling, malodorous, stinking to high heaven, reeking, pungent, acrid, high, rank, foul, unpleasant, nasty, noxious
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Latin fetidus (often erroneously spelled foetidus), from fetere ‘to stink’. Compare with fetor.