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[stuhngk] /stʌŋk/
a simple past tense and past participle of stink.


[stingk] /stɪŋk/
verb (used without object), stank or, often stunk; stunk; stinking.
to emit a strong offensive smell.
to be offensive to honesty or propriety; to be in extremely bad repute or disfavor.
Informal. to be disgustingly inferior:
That book stinks.
Slang. to have a large quantity of something (usually followed by of or with):
They stink of money. She stinks with jewelry.
verb (used with object), stank or, often stunk; stunk; stinking.
to cause to stink or be otherwise offensive (often followed by up):
an amateurish performance that really stank up the stage.
a strong offensive smell; stench.
Informal. an unpleasant fuss; scandal:
There was a big stink about his accepting a bribe.
stinks, (used with a singular verb) British Slang. chemistry as a course of study.
Verb phrases
stink out, to repel or drive out by means of a highly offensive smell.
Origin of stink
before 900; (v.) Middle English stinken, Old English stincan; (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v.; cognate with German stinken. (v.); cf. stench
Related forms
outstink, verb (used with object), outstank or, often outstunk; outstunk; outstinking.
1. reek. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for stunk
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As for the effluent, it was thick and turbid, and stunk like a dirty brewery.

    The Dwelling House George Vivian Poore
  • First the candle burnt down in its socket and stunk: he did not notice it.

    Desperate Remedies Thomas Hardy
  • It was fishy—it stunk from here to Mars, but Rinehart covered it up fast and clean.

    Martyr Alan Edward Nourse
  • There have been times when the Fraser River stunk with rotten salmon.

    Poor Man's Rock Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • "The 'fire', if you want to call it that, must have stunk up the place pretty badly," said one of the men dryly.

    Anything You Can Do ... Gordon Randall Garrett
  • It stunk of gunpowder; and there was little thin layers of smoke hanging quiet between the walls.

    Two on the Trail

    Hulbert Footner
  • We were carried into a vast bed-room, which I suppose is the club-room, for it stunk of tobacco like a justice of the peace!

  • It is none too fine yet, but in those days, when every nuisance crowded out of New York found refuge there, it stunk to heaven.

  • This moving and fetid rag must have stunk in the nostrils of dainty folks ten yards away.

British Dictionary definitions for stunk


a past tense and past participle of stink


a strong foul smell; stench
(slang) a great deal of trouble (esp in the phrase to make or raise a stink)
like stink, intensely; furiously
verb (mainly intransitive) stinks, stinking, stank, stunk, stunk
to emit a foul smell
(slang) to be thoroughly bad or abhorrent: this town stinks
(informal) to have a very bad reputation: his name stinks
to be of poor quality
(slang) foll by of or with. to have or appear to have an excessive amount (of money)
(informal) (transitive) usually foll by up. to cause to stink
See also stink out
Word Origin
Old English stincan; related to Old Saxon stinkan, German stinken, Old Norse stökkva to burst; see stench
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for stunk



Old English stincan "emit a smell of any kind" (class III strong verb; past tense stonc), from West Germanic *stenkwanan (cf. Old Saxon stincan, Old High German stinkan, Dutch stinken), from the root of stench. Old English swote stincan "to smell sweet," but offensive sense began in Old English and was primary by mid-13c.; smell now tends the same way. Figurative meaning "be offensive" is from early 13c.; meaning "be inept" is recorded from 1924. To stink to high heaven first recorded 1963.



c.1300, from stink (v.). Sense of "extensive fuss" first recorded 1812.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for stunk


noun phrase

(also big stink) An extensive fuss; huge brouhaha; scandal: ''I never made a big stink about it,'' says Righetti (1812+)


(also stink on ice)Tobe deplorable, nasty, totally inept or bungling, disgusting, etc; rot, suck: The whole idea stinks, if you ask me/ The group and its main man stunk on ice (1225+)

Related Terms

act like one's shit doesn't stink, think one's shit doesn't stink

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with stunk


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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