When things stink, they smell terrible. If you throw food scraps in your kitchen trash can, it will eventually start to stink.

You can say that something stinks — your dog's breath, or your brother's feet — and you can call the offensive odor itself a stink. Figuratively, something can stink even if it doesn't literally smell bad: "I'm sorry, but that movie you recommended really stinks. It's awful." The Old English root is stincan, "emit a smell of any kind, or exhale."

Definitions of stink
  1. verb
    smell badly and offensively
    synonyms: reek
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    type of:
    smell bad
  2. verb
    be extremely bad in quality or in one's performance
    “This term paper stinks!”
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    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  3. noun
    a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
    synonyms: fetor, foetor, malodor, malodour, mephitis, reek, stench
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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
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