Definition of reek in English:



  • 1 Smell strongly and unpleasantly; stink.

    ‘the yard reeked of wet straw and horse manure’
    • ‘It's literally falling apart, it's an absolute pigsty, and it just reeks with the smell of rotting beer.’
    • ‘I think a lot of this is fuelled by drink or drugs and the man that assaulted me certainly reeked of alcohol.’
    • ‘The air reeked with the smell of paint, turpentine, Bull Durham tobacco, and the aromatic Indian herb kinnikinnick.’
    • ‘Her breath reeked with the stench of alcohol.’
    • ‘The Sasskal's hot breath reeked strongly of raw flesh and stale blood.’
    • ‘The nurse's office smelled - or rather, reeked - strongly of iodine and disinfectant.’
    • ‘What about the seats - some of them reek with manky stinks going back decades.’
    • ‘Over the iron railings, the murky depths of the Cowgate slithered off towards the Grassmarket, encased on either side by dirty stone tenements that reeked of last night's beer.’
    • ‘As I was walking through the city tonight, I passed by a group of kids who absolutely reeked of dope.’
    • ‘His grey eyes were bloodshot already, and his breath reeked with the signature stench of alcohol.’
    • ‘I remember the whole area reeked with the smell of burnt flesh for weeks and weeks after.’
    • ‘But now she reeked strongly of alcohol, and I didn't like the idea of that.’
    • ‘I was already beginning to reek and smell, and they were odors other than the normal scents that the body gave off.’
    • ‘The men wore shiny suits and chunky pinky rings and reeked of pomade and cologne.’
    • ‘The air increasingly reeked with their foul smells making me sick at my stomach, while their shouted threats and rantings made it hard for me to concentrate and slowly began to unnerve me.’
    • ‘I dragged my suitcase through the spotless, empty street, which reeked of bleach.’
    • ‘I'm convinced dogs can't smell a darn thing unless it absolutely reeks.’
    • ‘Police officers said the air inside reeked with the smell of drugs.’
    stink, smell, smell bad, smell disgusting, give off a bad smell, smell to high heaven, stink to high heaven
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Be suggestive of something unpleasant or undesirable.
      ‘the speeches reeked of anti-Semitism’
      • ‘When it comes to the humor, Just Married reeks of desperation.’
      • ‘To be honest, the Informix purchase reeks of desperation to me.’
      • ‘His commanding physique simply reeked of total class.’
      • ‘His particular brand of late-capitalist pop nihilism combined with his angst-ridden gay teen characters has always reeked of superficiality.’
      • ‘I think this whole thing just reeks of a pathetic lack of willpower.’
      • ‘Other folks have just been too unprofessional, or reeked of ‘yahoo’ thrill seeker, or just plain ugly racist.’
      • ‘By the time I left for college, my eye-rolling skills were superb, and I had no patience for anything that reeked of mysticism - or of incense.’
      • ‘It was a stirring creation - a two-tone, metallic-blue convertible roadster that reeked of power and dash.’
      • ‘That movie - which reeked of the arthouse - was a box-office flop, but DiCaprio is far from sorry he took the part.’
      • ‘The mere mention of morality reeks of back-to-basics hypocrisy.’
      • ‘If true, this reeked of media suppression by government.’
      • ‘The spin on the Telegraph story is so blatant that it reeks of desperation.’
      • ‘No wonder the Singhalese lawyer was appalled by an approach which reeked of such paternalistic colonialism.’
      • ‘It is her denunciation of the Back to Basics slogan as ‘evil’ that most strongly reeks of hypocrisy.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the conservative argument against gay marriage often reeks of hypocrisy.’
      • ‘Coming as it does in a period when many cash-strapped independent schools face the prospect of mergers or closure, he suggests that the initiative reeks more of marketing than a genuine desire to stimulate debate.’
      • ‘Young is right, of course, on the legal question - it reeks to high heaven of reverse discrimination.’
      • ‘On a basic level I understand Mr. Lynch's statement but find that it reeks of arrogance.’
      • ‘The whole thing positively reeks of teen spirit, and it's marvellous.’
      • ‘Whittaker Chambers declared that the writings of Ayn Rand, a hero of the more libertarian right, reeked of fascism and the gas chambers.’
    2. 1.2archaic Give off smoke, steam, or fumes.
      ‘while temples crash, and towers in ashes reek’
      emit smoke, emit gas, smoke
      View synonyms


  • 1[in singular] A foul smell.

    ‘the reek of cattle dung’
    • ‘A Millfield Avenue resident living near the beck said: ‘Last night there was a real reek of diesel.’’
    • ‘The shelves are packed with all manner of decorating options, and the reek of paint thinner fills the room.’
    • ‘Man I hate hospitals, if they're not depressing, they smell like anti-bacteria solvent, the gross part of alcohol, trying to cover up the reek of death and decay.’
    • ‘Like the squirrels in my garden, and the reek of fox which greeted me when I opened my front door this morning, it is a reminder that we live within nature, we do not stand outside of it.’
    • ‘I thought that the reason for this was the hot summers we've had - in fact the reek emanating from them has always reminded me of the whiffs in towns I've visited when on holiday in hot countries.’
    • ‘And the reek of dried urine emanating from them was so strong that I almost threw up.’
    • ‘Assaulted by the reek of marine detritus, a few hardy souls were taking a determined stroll down to the water, their heads bowed into the wind.’
    • ‘The reek of moral decay is overpowering and has set in across the rainbow nation.’
    • ‘Several weeks after the main clean-up operation on a heavily-polluted former gasworks site at Heworth was completed, an oily reek still hangs in the air.’
    • ‘Her shoes are off, and she hopes her feet don't smell - at least not enough so that he can smell them through the reek of drunkenness and cigarettes.’
    • ‘The air grew foul, the reek of rotting death made them heave as they picked their way through the mass of tangled bodies.’
    • ‘I suppose I could have pretended to be an investor and had a bit of fun, but the air was already thick with with the reek of manure without me adding to it.’
    • ‘It's dark in there, and I can smell the reek of alcohol from where I waver on the sidewalk.’
    • ‘She could smell the reek of salted fish on his breath and she could see the lice in his beard.’
    • ‘The sounds of gentle snoring and the reek of alcohol permeated the room.’
    • ‘Mortimer's face went red and he leaned forward to glower inches from Croft, the reek of his breath gusting in Croft's face.’
    • ‘The smell of cooking flesh mingles wretchedly with the reek of voided bowels and bladder.’
    • ‘There was a reek of disinfectant in the air as some locals were deliberately splashing it over overalls, boots and vehicles just so the finger couldn't be pointed at them.’
    • ‘I stumbled into someone's chest and immediately smelled the reek of alcohol.’
    • ‘You catch the dry talcum smell of old ladies, which can't quite disguise the reek of stale sweat.’
    stink, bad smell, foul smell, stench, taint, effluvium
    niff, pong, whiff, hum
    miasma, mephitis, malodour, fetor
    View synonyms
  • 2Scottish [mass noun] Smoke.

    ‘he recovered himself and turned to peer through the reek’


Old English rēocan ‘give out smoke or vapour’, rēc (noun) ‘smoke’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch rieken to smell, rook smoke, German riechen to smell, Rauch smoke.