an offensive smell or odor; stink.
a foul quality.

Origin of stench

before 900; Middle English; Old English stenc odor (good or bad); akin to stink
Related formsstench·ful, adjective

Synonyms for stench

See odor. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for stench

stink, smell, redolence, funk, fetor, malodor, mephitis

Examples from the Web for stench

Contemporary Examples of stench

Historical Examples of stench

  • The dust, the smoke, and the stench of the powder were suffocating.

  • Fog, and drizzle, and smoke, and stench composed the atmosphere.

    David Elginbrod

    George MacDonald

  • Stench of fat kitchens, of soft bubbling alleys, of gleaming refuse.

    Erik Dorn

    Ben Hecht

  • And I don't like the stench of that kind of cop in my place.

    Police Your Planet

    Lester del Rey

  • At the vesper hour, there came an eighth, the stench of which was horrible.


    Anatole France

British Dictionary definitions for stench



a strong and extremely offensive odour; stink

Word Origin for stench

Old English stenc; related to Old Saxon, Old High German stank; see stink
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 stench

Old English stenc "a smell" (either pleasant or unpleasant), from Proto-Germanic *stankwiz (cf. Old Saxon stanc, Old High German stanch, German stank). Related to stincan "emit a smell" (see stink) as drench is to drink. The notion of "evil smell" predominated from c.1200.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper