Definition of skunk in English:



  • 1A cat-sized American mammal of the weasel family, with distinctive black-and-white striped fur. When threatened it squirts a fine spray of foul-smelling irritant liquid from its anal glands towards its attacker.

    Mephitis and other genera, family Mustelidae: several species, in particular the striped skunk (M. mephitis)

    • ‘Burrows are also often shared with other mammals such as rabbits, skunks and possums.’
    • ‘Striped skunks sometimes eat crops and raid chicken pens, though this is rare.’
    • ‘The thought of a bar on a Saturday night was as appealing as a dead skunk.’
    • ‘All kinds of critters like to dine on poultry, including raccoons, skunks, opossums, weasels, foxes, coyotes, dogs and feral cats.’
    • ‘Like that amorous skunk Pepé Le Pew, you're determined to make a luscious someone yours, even if she thinks you're stinky.’
    • ‘Striped skunks use scent marking to communicate presence and reproductive state to other skunks.’
    • ‘Outside there would be the pervasive odor of skunk.’
    • ‘He also can't smell skunk so I'm not sure what I expect.’
    • ‘The weasel family includes such colourful characters as otters, wolverines, skunks, minks and badgers.’
    • ‘Then again, does the smell of a skunk's spray necessarily follow the skunk out of the room?’
    • ‘The spray from a skunk will not cause permanent blindness.’
    • ‘No, I lived in the city, and I knew the smell of skunk quite well.’
    • ‘They can be shot or trapped or otherwise killed as a nuisance animal, like gophers, skunks or weasels, Holsten said.’
    • ‘Something about it was not what I'm used to, but it still smelled like skunk.’
    • ‘At birth, baby striped skunks are blind, deaf, and extremely immature.’
    • ‘There is only a dead skunk where water on road would be.’
    • ‘The number of rabid skunks documented in Texas was relatively low through the 1990s.’
    • ‘There was, it turned out, a dead, bloated skunk trapped just beneath one of the storm sewer grates in the alley next to our house.’
    • ‘She laughed and laughed while father told her about the time he got sprayed by a skunk.’
    1. 1.1mass noun The fur of the skunk.
      • ‘After purchasing a cap made of skunk fur and unable to hold any more purchases, he found himself back at the kissing booth.’
    2. 1.2informal A contemptible person.
      ‘he'd run up a massive phone bill and hadn't paid—the skunk’
      • ‘I can't believe that stinky skunk hung up on me!’
      • ‘He's a wily, nefarious skunk, is what he is, gang.’
      • ‘Some talk as if you were the skunk at the garden party.’
      • ‘I got some arranging to do and we don't want that skunk to know we smell him yet.’
      scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, brute, animal, weasel, snake, monster, ogre, wretch, devil, good-for-nothing, reprobate, wrongdoer, evil-doer
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  • 2informal

    short for skunkweed
    • ‘A former fugitive accused of bankrolling a massive skunk cannabis factory at an airfield near Selby has pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of cannabis.’
    • ‘‘It's some of the best skunk around - it'll blow your head off,’ he said.’
    • ‘She noticed several years ago that drawing on strong Jamaican skunk suddenly and temporarily enabled her to see things clearly.’
    • ‘Officers then searched his home and found seven bags of skunk cannabis and cocaine weighing 18.1g.’
    • ‘They introduced a new kind of cannabis class A skunk.’
    • ‘You'll send a guy with a stud in his tongue and a bag of skunk in his back pocket to talk to them.’
    • ‘This was one of the largest skunk cannabis factories ever discovered in mainland UK.’
    • ‘I smoke high quality hybrid cannabis like skunk, northern lights and purple haze.’
    • ‘Officers entered the room and discovered a small quantity of skunk in a plastic bag, in Crook's jacket pocket, which was hung over a chair.’
    • ‘Someone asked me for two pounds, in exchange for which he would provide me with a bit of skunk.’
    • ‘After their arrest eight days later, they said they had taken cocaine, cannabis skunk and alcohol before the robbery.’


[with object]North American
  • 1Defeat (someone) overwhelmingly in a game or contest, especially by preventing them from scoring at all.

    ‘I knew he was a good fisherman, but I didn't expect him to skunk you’
    • ‘When I got to the gate I found all of the outlets already in use - skunked again!’
    • ‘After that, we went to play a round of pool so that I could redeem myself, and we both thought for a bit that I was going to skunk him.’
    • ‘We don't always get skunked on these expeditions.’
    • ‘Just as Lola was about to skunk Sherice with her peg points the doorbell rang.’
    • ‘Been skunked a few times this year, even though you used your favorite rod, went to your super-secret spot and wore your lucky underwear?’
    • ‘If weather skunked our 14-day road trip, we would at least hit the most spectacular ski area in Canada.’
    defeat, beat, best, get the better of, gain the advantage over, prevail over, triumph over, gain a victory over, trounce, rout, thrash, drub, vanquish, conquer, master, overcome, overwhelm, overpower, overthrow, crush, subdue, subjugate
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  • 2dated Fail to pay (a bill or creditor)

    ‘he made a practice of skunking hotels’


Mid 17th century: from Abnaki segankw; variants occur in many other North American Indian dialects.