smell to high heaven, to

smell to high heaven

1. To have a very strong unpleasant scent. Can you take this trash out? It smells to high heaven. Ugh, something in this refrigerator smells to high heaven!
2. To be or seem extremely disreputable, suspicious, or corrupt. This deal between the company and the mayor's office smells to high heaven, if you ask me. This town smelled to high heaven before I came in and brought some law and order to it.
See also: heaven, high, smell

smell to (high) heaven

1. in. to smell very bad. This kitchen smells to high heaven. What besides garlic are you cooking?
2. in. to give signals that cause suspicion. Something’s wrong here. Somebody blabbed. This setup smells to high heaven.
See also: heaven, high, smell

smell to high heaven, to

To stink; to be thoroughly contemptible, dishonest, or in very bad repute. Heaven in this term alludes to a great distance; if something that far away can be smelled, it must smell very strong indeed. Shakespeare may have originated the metaphor. “O! my offence is rank, it smells to heaven,” says the King in Hamlet (3.3), “It hath the primal eldest curse on’t; A brother’s murder!”
See also: high, smell