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  1. a simple past tense of stink.
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verb (used without object), stank or, often, stunk; stunk; stink·ing.
  1. to emit a strong offensive smell.
  2. to be offensive to honesty or propriety; to be in extremely bad repute or disfavor.
  3. Informal. to be disgustingly inferior: That book stinks.
  4. Slang. to have a large quantity of something (usually followed by of or with): They stink of money. She stinks with jewelry.
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verb (used with object), stank or, often, stunk; stunk; stink·ing.
  1. to cause to stink or be otherwise offensive (often followed by up): an amateurish performance that really stank up the stage.
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  1. a strong offensive smell; stench.
  2. Informal. an unpleasant fuss; scandal: There was a big stink about his accepting a bribe.
  3. stinks, (used with a singular verb) British Slang. chemistry as a course of study.
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Verb Phrases
  1. stink out, to repel or drive out by means of a highly offensive smell.
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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 formsout·stink, verb (used with object), out·stank or, often, out·stunk; out·stunk; out·stink·ing.


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. reek.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for stank

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • She started from the slaughter-houses, which stank of blood.


    Emile Zola

  • Nowhere at any time has there been a metropolis that so stank to heaven.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

  • This is why the name Corresponding Society stank in the nostrils of all rulers.

  • That they stank so abominably they overcame whole armies just with their smell.

  • The hold steamed like an oven, stank most offensively, and groaned with anguish.

    Sea-Dogs All!

    Tom Bevan

British Dictionary definitions for stank


  1. a past tense of stink
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  1. a small cofferdam, esp one of timber made watertight with clay
  2. Scot and Northern English dialect a pond or pool
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  1. (tr) to make (a stream, cofferdam, etc) watertight, esp with clay
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Word Origin

C13: from Old French estanc, probably from estancher to stanch


noun dialect
  1. a drain, as in a roadway
  2. a draining board adjacent to a sink unit
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Word Origin

special use of stank ² (in the sense: pool, pond)


  1. a strong foul smell; stench
  2. slang a great deal of trouble (esp in the phrase to make or raise a stink)
  3. like stink intensely; furiously
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verb stinks, stinking, stank, stunk or stunk (mainly intr)
  1. to emit a foul smell
  2. slang to be thoroughly bad or abhorrentthis town stinks
  3. informal to have a very bad reputationhis name stinks
  4. to be of poor quality
  5. (foll by of or with) slang to have or appear to have an excessive amount (of money)
  6. (tr usually foll by up) informal to cause to stink
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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

Word Origin and History for stank

past tense of sink (q.v.).

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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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with stank


In addition to the idiom beginning with stink

  • stink to high heaven

also see:

  • big stink
  • make a stink
  • smell (stink) up
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.