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[stingk] /stɪŋk/
verb (used without object), stank or, often stunk; stunk; stinking.
to emit a strong offensive smell.
to be offensive to honesty or propriety; to be in extremely bad repute or disfavor.
Informal. to be disgustingly inferior:
That book stinks.
Slang. to have a large quantity of something (usually followed by of or with):
They stink of money. She stinks with jewelry.
verb (used with object), stank or, often stunk; stunk; stinking.
to cause to stink or be otherwise offensive (often followed by up):
an amateurish performance that really stank up the stage.
a strong offensive smell; stench.
Informal. an unpleasant fuss; scandal:
There was a big stink about his accepting a bribe.
stinks, (used with a singular verb) British Slang. chemistry as a course of study.
Verb phrases
stink out, to repel or drive out by means of a highly offensive smell.
Origin of stink
before 900; (v.) Middle English stinken, Old English stincan; (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v.; cognate with German stinken. (v.); cf. stench
Related forms
outstink, verb (used with object), outstank or, often outstunk; outstunk; outstinking.
1. reek. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for stink
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How frightful my blemishes, which must stink in His nostrils!

    The Golden Fountain Lilian Staveley
  • All that fuss and stink is to get 'em to Gallowstree Dip before we pass it.

    Ambrotox and Limping Dick Oliver Fleming
  • This done to sweeten the stink of powder, let the Ladies take the egg-shells full of sweet waters and throw them at each other.

  • "Your Bureau brought us the stink of burning," MacHenery said.

    The Great Potlatch Riots Allen Kim Lang
  • Most members of the bug order can eject a disagreeable liquid, though few of them do it so successfully as the stink bug.

    The Insect Folk Margaret Warner Morley
British Dictionary definitions for stink


a strong foul smell; stench
(slang) a great deal of trouble (esp in the phrase to make or raise a stink)
like stink, intensely; furiously
verb (mainly intransitive) stinks, stinking, stank, stunk, stunk
to emit a foul smell
(slang) to be thoroughly bad or abhorrent: this town stinks
(informal) to have a very bad reputation: his name stinks
to be of poor quality
(slang) foll by of or with. to have or appear to have an excessive amount (of money)
(informal) (transitive) usually foll by up. to cause to stink
See also stink out
Word Origin
Old English stincan; related to Old Saxon stinkan, German stinken, Old Norse stökkva to burst; see stench
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for stink

Old English stincan "emit a smell of any kind" (class III strong verb; past tense stonc), from West Germanic *stenkwanan (cf. Old Saxon stincan, Old High German stinkan, Dutch stinken), from the root of stench. Old English swote stincan "to smell sweet," but offensive sense began in Old English and was primary by mid-13c.; smell now tends the same way. Figurative meaning "be offensive" is from early 13c.; meaning "be inept" is recorded from 1924. To stink to high heaven first recorded 1963.


c.1300, from stink (v.). Sense of "extensive fuss" first recorded 1812.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for stink



A tricking or entrapment, either in a confidence scheme or as part of a law-enforcement operation: have used sting to describe undercover operations that use a bogus business operation as a front/ Let's contrast Abscam with traditional law-enforcement stings (1975+)


  1. To cheat; swindle; defraud; scam (1812+)
  2. To overcharge; stick: He got stung at the corner market (1927+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with stink


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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