Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To smoke, steam, or fume.
  • intransitive v. To be pervaded by something unpleasant: "This document ... reeks of self-pity and self-deception” ( Christopher Hitchens).
  • intransitive v. To give off or become permeated with a strong unpleasant odor: "Grandma, who reeks of face powder and lilac water” ( Garrison Keillor).
  • transitive v. To emit or exude (smoke, for example).
  • transitive v. To process or treat by exposing to the action of smoke.
  • n. A strong offensive odor; a stench. See Synonyms at stench.
  • n. Vapor; steam.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A strong unpleasant smell.
  • n. Vapor; steam; smoke; fume.
  • v. (intransitive) To be emitted or exhaled, emanate, as of vapour or perfume.
  • v. To have or give off a strong, unpleasant smell.
  • v. To be evidently associated with something unpleasant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A rick.
  • n. Vapor; steam; smoke; fume.
  • intransitive v. To emit vapor, usually that which is warm and moist; to be full of fumes; to steam; to smoke; to exhale.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To smoke; steam; exhale.
  • To smoke; expose to smoke.
  • n. Smoke; vapor; steam; exhalation; fume.
  • n. Incense.
  • n. A rick; also, a small bundle of hay.
  • To emit an unpleasant or unhealthy smell; stink.
  • To cause to reek or smell offensively.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. give off smoke, fumes, warm vapour, steam, etc.
  • v. have an element suggestive (of something)
  • v. be wet with sweat or blood, as of one's face
  • n. a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
  • v. smell badly and offensively

Etymologies

Middle English reken, to emit smoke, from Old English rēocan, and rēcan, to expose to smoke.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English rek ‘smoke’, from Old English rēc, riec, from Proto-Germanic *raukiz (compare West Frisian reek, riik, Danish røg, Norwegian røyk), from Proto-Indo-European *rougi- (compare Lithuanian rū̃kti ‘to smoke’, rū̃kas ‘smoke, fog’, Albanian regj ‘to tan’). (Wiktionary)
Middle English reken ‘to smoke’, from Old English rēocan, from Proto-Germanic *reukanan (compare Dutch ruiken, German riechen, Danish ryge, Swedish ryka), from Proto-Indo-European *rougi. See above. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Caitlin O’Toole at News. com.au outlines ten things bosses hate about employees, from big-picture errors like failing to meet deadlines to personal problems such as smelling bad (telling a staff member they reek is never a fun meeting).

    Why your boss doesn’t like you | Lifehacker Australia

  • Having artfully solved a thorny problem a week ago, the government has now embraced a deal whose terms reek of the bailout it was at such pains to avoid.

    The Real Cost

  • Methinks these terms reek of desuetude which really is a legal term, correct?

    "It cannot be gainsaid..."

  • For a hungry cub, fresh from hibernating in its winter den, the reek was a thousand times more interesting than blackberry briars or a pair of woodland strangers.

    Ice Hunt

  • Every wreath of the reek is a blast of shame upon us!

    The Black Dwarf

  • Yet, it is its foul odor, often described as the reek of rotten eggs or hydrogen sulfide, that puts the "skunk" into the creature's name.

    Valdosta Daily Times Homepage

  • As Raymond Sokolov, then the Times restaurant critic, put it in 1973, the reek was the whole point.

    Diner's Journal

  • Hielan 'pony tossing its mane; and when I looked from the door again -- which I was glad enough to do, for the reek was a little nippy to my eyes -- as I looked from the door I saw Belle returning, and with her no other than Robin McKelvie of the Quay Inn. There was no sign of the _Seagull_, for a fog had come down on the firth, and even the melancholy pleasure of seeing Dan's ship again was taken from me.

    The McBrides A Romance of Arran

  • Meantime the seers were sacrificing sheep and noting the tongues and forks of fire, the damp reek which is a bad omen, and the tapering flame, which gives decisions on two points, being both a sign of victory and defeat.

    The Phoenissae

  • A peculiar characteristic of the Harris tweed is the peat smoke smell caused by the fabric being woven in the crofters 'cottages, where there is always a strong odor of peat "reek" from the peat which is burned for fuel.

    Textiles and Clothing

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