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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.
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.
  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.
Verb Phrases
  1. 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 formsout·stink, verb (used with object), out·stank or, often, out·stunk; out·stunk; out·stink·ing.

Synonyms for stink

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1. reek. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for stink

stench, smell, foulness, fetor, malodor, offend, reek, funk

Examples from the Web for stink

Contemporary Examples of stink

Historical Examples of stink

British Dictionary definitions for stink


  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
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
See also stink out

Word Origin for stink

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 stink

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

Idioms and Phrases with stink


In addition to the idiom beginning with stink

  • stink to high heaven

also see:

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