One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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 toward its attacker.
Mephitis and other genera, family Mustelidae: several species, in particular the striped skunk (M. mephitis)
- ‘The spray from a skunk will not cause permanent blindness.’
- ‘At birth, baby striped skunks are blind, deaf, and extremely immature.’
- ‘Striped skunks use scent marking to communicate presence and reproductive state to other skunks.’
- ‘She laughed and laughed while father told her about the time he got sprayed by a skunk.’
- ‘There is only a dead skunk where water on road would be.’
- ‘Burrows are also often shared with other mammals such as rabbits, skunks and possums.’
- ‘Something about it was not what I'm used to, but it still smelled like skunk.’
- ‘Striped skunks sometimes eat crops and raid chicken pens, though this is rare.’
- ‘The weasel family includes such colourful characters as otters, wolverines, skunks, minks and badgers.’
- ‘Outside there would be the pervasive odor of skunk.’
- ‘He also can't smell skunk so I'm not sure what I expect.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The number of rabid skunks documented in Texas was relatively low through the 1990s.’
- ‘Then again, does the smell of a skunk's spray necessarily follow the skunk out of the room?’
- ‘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.’
- ‘They can be shot or trapped or otherwise killed as a nuisance animal, like gophers, skunks or weasels, Holsten said.’
- ‘No, I lived in the city, and I knew the smell of skunk quite well.’
- ‘Like that amorous skunk Pepé Le Pew, you're determined to make a luscious someone yours, even if she thinks you're stinky.’
- 1.1 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.’
- 1.2informal A contemptible person.
scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, brute, animal, weasel, snake, monster, ogre, wretch, devil, good-for-nothing, reprobate, wrongdoer, evil-doerView synonyms
- ‘Some talk as if you were the skunk at the garden party.’
- ‘I can't believe that stinky skunk hung up on me!’
- ‘He's a wily, nefarious skunk, is what he is, gang.’
- ‘I got some arranging to do and we don't want that skunk to know we smell him yet.’
verb[with object]North American
1Defeat (someone) overwhelmingly in a game or contest, especially by preventing them from scoring at all.
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, subjugateView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘If weather skunked our 14-day road trip, we would at least hit the most spectacular ski area in Canada.’
- ‘Just as Lola was about to skunk Sherice with her peg points the doorbell rang.’
- ‘When I got to the gate I found all of the outlets already in use - skunked again!’
- ‘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?’
- ‘We don't always get skunked on these expeditions.’
2dated Fail to pay (a bill or creditor).
Mid 17th century: from Abnaki segankw; variants occur in many other North American Indian dialects.
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