Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: “reek” misspelled “reak.”*

reek; wreak (3). Today: “reek” misspelled “reak.”* “Reak” is a common misspelling of “reek” — e.g.: o “The oil company subsequently hired a firm to clean the oil, but after six weeks of work and a declaration the house was inhabitable, the house still ‘reaked [read ‘reeked’] of oil,’ Hansen said.” MaryAnn Spoto, “Suit Seeks Damages for Oil Spill Nightmare,” Star-Ledger (Newark), 26 Sept. 1997, at 51. o “Those who have briefly been able to visit the residential buildings have reported finding them filled with ash and reaking [read ‘reeking’] of rotting food.” David Usborne, “America’s Own Refugees: People Who Can’t Go Home,” Independent, 19 Sept. 2001, at 11. And a double bobble results when the misspelling “reak havoc”* displaces the correct form, “wreak havoc” — e.g.: “January arrived on the UW-Platteville campus and reaked [read ‘wreaked’] havoc with the men’s basketball record.” Nick Zizzo, “Pioneers Get Back on Track,” Wis. State J., 1 Feb. 2001, at E3. Language-Change Index — “reak”* as a misspelling of “wreak” or “reek”: Stage 1. ——————- Quotation of the Day: “Our language is the most important language in the world. I say that unashamedly and with no feeling of linguistic chauvinism, for I believe that at the end of the second millennium it is a fact.” Ronald Wardhaugh, Proper English: Myths and Misunderstandings About Language ix (1999).
Scroll to Top