from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having an offensive odor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Foul-smelling, Stinking.
  • n. The foul-smelling assafoetida plant, or its extracts.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having an offensive smell; stinking.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having an offensive smell; stinking.
  • n. See fetid, fetor.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. offensively malodorous


Middle English, from Latin fētidus, from fētēre, to stink.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the Latin adjective, fetidus ("having offensive odour") (often incorrectly foetidus, giving rise to the variant spelling), originally feteo ("to stink"). (Wiktionary)


  • The Ephemerides, Schurig, 9.18 and Hoffman report instances of what they call fetid semen (possibly a complication of urethral disease).

    Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine

  • The Ephemerides, Schurig, and Hoffman report instances of what they call fetid semen (possibly a complication of urethral disease).

    Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine

  • It was piercing cold, with a burning sun; and we experienced a nasty, choking, sickening smell of sulphur, which arose in fetid puffs from the many-coloured surface – dead white, purple, dull red, green, and brilliant yellow.

    The Romance of Isabel, Lady Burton

  • The Vale of the Asphaltites is further remarkable for a species of limestone called the fetid, the smell of which, as its name imports, is extremely offensive.

    Palestine or the Holy Land From the Earliest Period to the Present Time

  • The air defines the word fetid, with overcrowded conditions and men shuffling around in their orange socks and flip-flops, wearing various uniforms to describe their situation (pre-trial or serving time).


  • Bank has described as fetid sewers and cities listed among the world's most polluted.

    Kansas City Star: Front Page

  • In the midst of all the current turmoil, it is worthwhile to recall the fetid episode involving former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, who in the fall of 2003 was caught stealing documents from the National Archives, which he later destroyed.

    Capitol Hill Coffee House

  • In the Believer, author and filmmaker C.S. Leigh fondly recalls a fetid human experience.

  • Tricot had suffered greatly; only some fragments of his hands remained; but, above all, he had a great opening in his side, a kind of fetid mouth, through which the will to live seemed to evaporate.

    The New Book of Martyrs

  • I’m calling fetid bullsh*t, aphid — the emigration of nazis to Argentina does not make it a “goose-stepping” nation “giving aid and comfort to the enemies of America” — you get an F.

    Think Progress » Rice Admits Mistakes Were Made In Iraq, Won’t Say What They Were Until Bush Leaves Office


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  • also spelt foetid (BrE).

    July 27, 2011

  • There will be no people living in fetid dens and fetid rags, and bringing up unhealthy, hunger-pinched children in the midst of impossible and absolutely repulsive surroundings.

    Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

    July 27, 2011

  • Citation on pus.

    June 22, 2008

  • This word is fun to say as if you were one of the weird sisters in "Macbeth": fetid and fouuuuul!

    October 26, 2007