1. A strong, foul odor; a stink.
2. A foul or objectionable quality: the stench of corrupt government.
[Middle English, from Old English stenc, odor.]
Synonyms: stench, fetor, malodor, reek, stink
These nouns denote a penetrating, objectionable odor: the stench of burning rubber; the fetor of polluted waters; the malodor of diesel fumes; the reek of stale sweat; a stink of decayed flesh.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.