Word Origin & History
O.E. rec (Anglian), riec (W.Saxon), "smoke from burning material," probably from O.N. reykr (cf. Reykjavik, lit. "smoky bay"), from P.Gmc. *raukiz (cf. O.Fris. rek, M.Du. rooc, O.H.G. rouh, Ger. Rauch "smoke, steam"), apparently not found outside Gmc. Sense of "stench" is attested 1659, via the notion
of "that which rises." The verb is from O.E. recan (Anglian), reocan (W.Saxon), from P.Gmc. *reukanan (cf. Ger. rauchen "to smoke," riechen "to smell"). Originally "to emit smoke;" meaning "to emit a bad smell" is recorded from 1710.