skunk

[skuhngk]

noun, plural skunks, (especially collectively) skunk.

a small North American mammal, Mephitis mephitis, of the weasel family, having a black coat with a white, V-shaped stripe on the back, and ejecting a fetid odor when alarmed or attacked.
any of several related or similar animals.Compare hog-nosed skunk, spotted skunk.
Informal. a thoroughly contemptible person.
U.S. Navy Slang. an unidentified ship or target.

verb (used with object)

Slang. to defeat thoroughly in a game, especially while keeping an opponent from scoring: The team skunked the favorites in the crucial game.

Nearby words

  1. skull and crossbones,
  2. skull session,
  3. skull-cap,
  4. skullcap,
  5. skullduggery,
  6. skunk cabbage,
  7. skunk river,
  8. skunk works,
  9. skunkweed,
  10. skunky

Origin of skunk

1625–35, Americanism; < the Massachusett reflex of Proto-Algonquian *šeka·kwa (derivative of *šek- urinate + -a·kw fox, foxlike animal

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skunk


British Dictionary definitions for skunk

skunk

noun plural skunks or skunk

any of various American musteline mammals of the subfamily Mephitinae, esp Mephitis mephitis (striped skunk), typically having a black and white coat and bushy tail: they eject an unpleasant-smelling fluid from the anal gland when attacked
informal a despicable person
slang a strain of cannabis smoked for its exceptionally powerful psychoactive properties

verb

(tr) US and Canadian slang to defeat overwhelmingly in a game

Word Origin for skunk

C17: from Algonquian; compare Abnaki segākw skunk

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

Word Origin and History for skunk
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper