a simple past tense and past participle of stink.



verb (used without object), stank or, often, stunk; stunk; stink·ing.

to emit a strong offensive smell.
to be offensive to honesty or propriety; to be in extremely bad repute or disfavor.
Informal. to be disgustingly inferior: That book stinks.
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.

to cause to stink or be otherwise offensive (often followed by up): an amateurish performance that really stank up the stage.


a strong offensive smell; stench.
Informal. an unpleasant fuss; scandal: There was a big stink about his accepting a bribe.
stinks, (used with a singular verb) British Slang. chemistry as a course of study.

Verb Phrases

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

1. reek. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for stunk

smell, offend, reek, funk

Examples from the Web for stunk

Contemporary Examples of stunk

Historical Examples of stunk

  • As for the effluent, it was thick and turbid, and stunk like a dirty brewery.

    The Dwelling House

    George Vivian Poore

  • First the candle burnt down in its socket and stunk: he did not notice it.

    Desperate Remedies

    Thomas Hardy

  • It was fishy—it stunk from here to Mars, but Rinehart covered it up fast and clean.


    Alan Edward Nourse

  • There have been times when the Fraser River stunk with rotten salmon.

    Poor Man's Rock

    Bertrand W. Sinclair

  • "The 'fire', if you want to call it that, must have stunk up the place pretty badly," said one of the men dryly.

    Anything You Can Do ...

    Gordon Randall Garrett

British Dictionary definitions for stunk



a past tense and past participle of stink



a strong foul smell; stench
slang a great deal of trouble (esp in the phrase to make or raise a stink)
like stink intensely; furiously

verb stinks, stinking, stank, stunk or stunk (mainly intr)

to emit a foul smell
slang to be thoroughly bad or abhorrentthis town stinks
informal to have a very bad reputationhis name stinks
to be of poor quality
(foll by of or with) slang to have or appear to have an excessive amount (of money)
(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 stunk



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 stunk


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.