[ 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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use reek in a sentence

  • The blue reeks of smoke from the cottages gave the whole widespread landscape an air of settled order and homely comfort.

    The Poison Belt | Arthur Conan Doyle
  • It reeks of absinthe, this desert tavern, in which we warm ourselves at a little smoking fire.

  • The altar reeks of it, and we never know when our dearest and best will be summoned.

    Roger the Bold | F. S. Brereton
  • "A singular room," he observed to Reeks, on concluding his survey.

    Auriol | W. Harrison Ainsworth
  • Wot's that you say about subterranean apartments, Mr. Reeks?

    Auriol | W. Harrison Ainsworth

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