- a strong, unpleasant smell.
- vapor or steam.
- to smell strongly and unpleasantly.
- to be strongly pervaded with something unpleasant or offensive.
- to give off steam, smoke, etc.
- to be wet with sweat, blood, etc.
- to give off; emit; exude.
- to expose to or treat with smoke.
Origin of reek
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for reek
In later years our lips grow tainted and reek of our passions.Abbe Mouret's Transgression
The reek of spirits, the greasy rancid steam of food got Razumov by the throat.Under Western Eyes
The air, which should have been clean, was filled with the reek of unfamiliar odors.The Whispering Spheres
Russell Robert Winterbotham
Involuntarily I turned my head away at the reek of his breath.The Trail of '98
Robert W. Service
Here we are all just ready to drop down, and the critters all in a reek of sweat.Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
- (intr) to give off or emit a strong unpleasant odour; smell or stink
- (intr often foll by of) to be permeated (by); be redolent (of)the letter reeks of subservience
- (tr) to treat with smoke; fumigate
- (tr) mainly dialect to give off or emit (smoke, fumes, vapour, etc)
- a strong offensive smell; stink
- mainly dialect smoke or steam; vapour
Word Origin and History for reek
Old English rec (Anglian), riec (West Saxon), "smoke from burning material," probably from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse reykr, Danish rǿg, Swedish rök "smoke, steam," from Proto-Germanic *raukiz (cf. Old Frisian rek, Middle Dutch rooc, Old High German rouh, German Rauch "smoke, steam"), from PIE *reug- "to vomit, belch;" also "smoke, cloud." Sense of "stench" is attested 1650s, via the notion of "that which rises" (cf. reek (v.)).
Old English recan (Anglian), reocan (West Saxon) "emit smoke," from Proto-Germanic *reukanan (cf. Old Frisian reka "smoke," Middle Dutch roken, Dutch rieken "to smoke," Old High German riohhan "to smoke, steam," German rauchen "to smoke," riechen "to smell").
Originally a strong verb, with past tense reac, past participle gereocen, but occasionally showing weak conjugation in Old English. Meaning "to emit smoke;" meaning "to emit a bad smell" is recorded from 1710 via sense "be heated and perspiring" (early 15c.). Related: Reeked; reeking.