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

v smell badly and offensively

Type of:
smell bad

v be extremely bad in quality or in one's performance

“This term paper stinks!”
Type of:
have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)

n a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant

fetor, foetor, malodor, malodour, mephitis, reek, stench
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

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.