Definition of skunk in US English:

skunk

noun

  • 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)

    • ‘All kinds of critters like to dine on poultry, including raccoons, skunks, opossums, weasels, foxes, coyotes, dogs and feral cats.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘No, I lived in the city, and I knew the smell of skunk quite well.’
    • ‘Striped skunks use scent marking to communicate presence and reproductive state to other skunks.’
    • ‘Something about it was not what I'm used to, but it still smelled like skunk.’
    • ‘Outside there would be the pervasive odor of skunk.’
    • ‘Burrows are also often shared with other mammals such as rabbits, skunks and possums.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The weasel family includes such colourful characters as otters, wolverines, skunks, minks and badgers.’
    • ‘They can be shot or trapped or otherwise killed as a nuisance animal, like gophers, skunks or weasels, Holsten said.’
    • ‘Like that amorous skunk Pepé Le Pew, you're determined to make a luscious someone yours, even if she thinks you're stinky.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At birth, baby striped skunks are blind, deaf, and extremely immature.’
    • ‘She laughed and laughed while father told her about the time he got sprayed by a skunk.’
    • ‘He also can't smell skunk so I'm not sure what I expect.’
    1. 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.’
    2. 1.2informal A contemptible person.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I can't believe that stinky skunk hung up on me!’
      scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, brute, animal, weasel, snake, monster, ogre, wretch, devil, good-for-nothing, reprobate, wrongdoer, evil-doer
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verb

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

    • ‘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).

Origin

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

Pronunciation

skunk

/skəŋk//skəNGk/