[ reek ]
See synonyms for: reekreeking on

  1. a strong, unpleasant smell.

  2. vapor or steam.

verb (used without object)
  1. to smell strongly and unpleasantly.

  2. to be strongly pervaded with something unpleasant or offensive.

  1. to give off steam, smoke, etc.

  2. to be wet with sweat, blood, etc.

verb (used with object)
  1. to give off; emit; exude.

  2. to expose to or treat with smoke.

Origin of reek

before 900; (noun) Middle English rek(e), Old English rēc smoke; cognate with German rauch,Dutch rook,Old Norse reykr; (v.) Middle English reken to smoke, steam, Old English rēocan

Other words for reek

Other words from reek

  • reeker, noun
  • reek·ing·ly, adverb
  • reeky, adjective

Words Nearby reek Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use reek in a sentence

  • The reek of hot tin from the dark lantern grew worse momentarily.

    The Gold Bat | P. G. Wodehouse
  • This first was the Boer hospital, and even at this early hour the air was pungent with the reek of strong tobacco.

    The Relief of Mafeking | Filson Young
  • At such times I could detect the faint reek of alcohol coming through his pores.

    Tramping on Life | Harry Kemp
  • It overlaid the reek of the cattle yards, the fumes of rank spirits and tobacco that came from the shanties.

    The Pioneers | Katharine Susannah Prichard

British Dictionary definitions for reek


/ (riːk) /

  1. (intr) to give off or emit a strong unpleasant odour; smell or stink

  2. (intr often foll by of) to be permeated (by); be redolent (of): the letter reeks of subservience

  1. (tr) to treat with smoke; fumigate

  2. (tr) mainly dialect to give off or emit (smoke, fumes, vapour, etc)

  1. a strong offensive smell; stink

  2. mainly dialect smoke or steam; vapour

Origin of reek

Old English rēocan; related to Old Frisian riāka to smoke, Old High German rouhhan, Old Norse rjūka to smoke, steam

Derived forms of reek

  • reeking, adjective
  • reekingly, adverb
  • reeky, adjective

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