It smells absolutely rotten and offensive. Birds are falling from the sky because of the fumes. You might throw up from one whiff. Whatever it is, it reeks.

Shakespeare famously wrote about the "breath that from my mistress reeks," but that's not a nice way to talk about a girlfriend. The word usually describes smells, but can also be used to suggest something fishy, as in "the suspicious transactions reeked of mob involvement." But noses everywhere agree: Whether it's coming from your sneakers or from the aftermath of a shady deal, if something reeks — it stinks to high heaven.

Definitions of reek
  1. verb
    give off smoke, fumes, warm vapour, steam, etc.
    “Marshes reeking in the sun”
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    type of:
    emit, give off, give out
    give off, send forth, or discharge; as of light, heat, or radiation, vapor, etc.
  2. verb
    smell badly and offensively
    “The building reeks of smoke”
    synonyms: stink
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    type of:
    smell bad
  3. noun
    a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
    synonyms: fetor, foetor, malodor, malodour, mephitis, stench, stink
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    niff, pong
    an unpleasant smell
    type of:
    odor, odour, olfactory perception, olfactory sensation, smell
    the sensation that results when olfactory receptors in the nose are stimulated by particular chemicals in gaseous form
  4. verb
    have an element suggestive (of something)
    synonyms: smack, smell
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    type of:
    evoke, paint a picture, suggest
    call to mind
  5. verb
    be wet with sweat or blood, as of one's face
    synonyms: fume
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    type of:
    exudate, exude, ooze, ooze out, transude
    release (a liquid) in drops or small quantities
Commonly confused words

wreck / wreak / reek

What happens when wild chimpanzees go to a party? They wreck the furniture, wreak havoc, and make the whole house reek. To wreck is to ruin something, to wreak is to cause something to happen, and to reek is to smell bad.

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