[ skoo-kuhm ]

adjectiveNorthwest U.S., Canada.
  1. large; powerful; impressive.

  2. excellent; first-rate.

Origin of skookum

1825–35, Americanism;<Chinook Jargon: strong, powerful <Lower Chehalis (Salishan language of the Washington coast) skwəkwə́m ghost, spirit, monster (hence, apparently “fearsome” > “powerful” in Chinook Jargon)

Words Nearby skookum Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use skookum in a sentence

  • But he knew that Dave Walsh was a big man, worth lots of money, a hi-yu skookum chief.

    Lost Face | Jack London
  • Although Austin lowered his voice, she drew nearer, prepared to take an intelligent interest in the "new riffles up on skookum."

    The Magnetic North | Elizabeth Robins (C. E. Raimond)
  • Muckluck gaped, sat down a minute, and rocked her body back and forth with hidden face, got up and called sharply: "skookum!"

    The Magnetic North | Elizabeth Robins (C. E. Raimond)
  • Ahnkuttie nika papa yahka papa, hyas skookum tyee kopa konaway Yakima tilikum, klatawa wake siah yahka la tet.

    Mount Rainier | Various
  • But skookum had buried a bone under some brushes by the plain and next day the hated Horton dog appeared.

    Rolf In The Woods | Ernest Thompson Seton

British Dictionary definitions for skookum


/ (ˈskuːkəm) /

  1. Canadian strong or brave

Origin of skookum

C19: from Chinook Jargon

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012