Definition of reek in English:

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Pronunciation: /riːk/


[no object]
1Smell strongly and unpleasantly; stink: the yard reeked of wet straw and horse manure
More example sentences
  • The nurse's office smelled - or rather, reeked - strongly of iodine and disinfectant.
  • I remember the whole area reeked with the smell of burnt flesh for weeks and weeks after.
  • What about the seats - some of them reek with manky stinks going back decades.
stink, smell, smell bad/disgusting, give off a bad smell, stink/smell to high heaven
1.1Be suggestive of something unpleasant or undesirable: the speeches reeked of anti-Semitism
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • The spin on the Telegraph story is so blatant that it reeks of desperation.
  • To be honest, the Informix purchase reeks of desperation to me.
1.2 archaic Give off smoke, steam, or fumes: while temples crash, and towers in ashes reek


1 [in singular] A foul smell: the reek of cattle dung
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • I stumbled into someone's chest and immediately smelled the reek of alcohol.
  • It's dark in there, and I can smell the reek of alcohol from where I waver on the sidewalk.
stink, bad smell, foul smell, stench, taint, effluvium
British informal niff, pong, whiff, hum
Scottish informal guff
North American informal, dated funk
rare miasma, mephitis, malodour, fetor
2 [mass noun] chiefly Scottish Smoke: he recovered himself and turned to peer through the reek



Example sentences
  • In their reeky gym clothes guide, they explain that the funky smell can persist even after a wash.
  • I drank as much as I could get my hands on just to keep that reeky smell away!
  • I have to remember that the city is still sans smoking ban, as I was pretty reeky the next morning.


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'.

  • We think of a reek today as an unpleasant smell, but in Old English the word meant ‘smoke’. This gave us the traditional name, used since at least the beginning of the 19th century, of Auld Reekie (‘Old Smoky’) for Edinburgh.

Words that rhyme with reek

antique, batik, beak, bespeak, bezique, bleak, boutique, cacique, caïque, cheek, chic, clique, creak, creek, critique, Dominique, eke, freak, geek, Greek, hide-and-seek, keek, Lalique, leak, leek, Martinique, meek, midweek, Mozambique, Mustique, mystique, oblique, opéra comique, ortanique, peak, Peake, peek, physique, pique, pratique, seek, shriek, Sikh, sleek, sneak, speak, Speke, squeak, streak, teak, technique, tongue-in-cheek, tweak, unique, veronique, weak, week, wreak

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