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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.
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 stinks
  • The other lesson to take from the game is that the penalty-kicks resolution of ties stinks, and always has.
  • Space, when done with people living together in close quarters, stinks.
  • It stinks, and it's loaded with naturally occurring toxic minerals, not to mention crude oil and/or natural gas.
  • In short, it stinks, and users often don't understand the results and miss great information.
  • If the piece stinks, it's simply a matter of timing.
  • Speaking from considerable experience, failing stinks.
  • Plastic has the added benefit that it isn't good for burning, it stinks, so barbarians won't be using it for firewood much.
  • What's wrong with this movie is that, on its own merits, it stinks.
  • The fall in the dollar is important, but mainly because as a store of value the dollar stinks.
  • It often stinks, attracts vermin and creates eyesores.
British Dictionary definitions for stinks


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 stinks



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 stinks



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 stinks


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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