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Reek vs wreak

Reek means smells strongly unpleasant, a terrible stench. Reek may be used as a noun or verb, related words are reeks, reeked, reeking, reeky, reekingly. Reek may also be used in a figurative sense, to describe something unpleasant. Reek is derived from the Old English word rēocan which means to emit smoke or vapor.

Wreak means to inflict, to cause, usually to describe the inflicting of vengeance or some type of damage. Wreak is most commonly used in the phrases wreak havoc and wreak vengeance. Wreak is a verb, related words are wreaks, wreaked, wreaking, wreaker. Wreak comes from the Old English word wrecan, which means to avenge, to drive out, to punish.


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Examples

An answer to gingkos’ reek (The Riverdale Press)

In a move lauded for its bipartisanship by some, and reeking of political posturing to weaken Democratic control of the House, two other Democrat House members accepted appointments from Governor Bevin: John Tilley, appointed as the Secretary of the Justice Cabinet, and Tanya Pullin, appointed as an Administrative Law Judge. (The Louisville Eccentric Observer)

You don’t have to necessarily use negative language in your profile to reek of negativity. (The Huffington Post)

It is worrying to come across cases where people engage in acts that are unethical, primitive, uncouth and reek of ignorance of the importance of maintaining the aquatic ecosystem. (The Express Tribune)

Townsend’s assertion that individuals who reek of alcohol and vomit while sitting in a stupor behind the wheel of a motor vehicle are never arrested in Kitsap County is absurd. (The Kitsap Sun)

Riders left out in cold as frigid temps wreak havoc (The Boston Herald)

Weather continues to wreak havoc with ferry timetable (The Shetland Times)

Christmastime Storms and Tornadoes Wreak Havoc in U.S. (Scientific American Magazine)

Thinking about having a midnight snack? It could wreak havoc on your memory (The Sun)

Severe thunderstorms have wreaked havoc across Sydney, with flash-flooding, golfball-sized hail and wind gusts of more than 200km/h – the strongest recorded in New South Wales history – as well as a likely tornado. (The Guardian)

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