noun \ˈskəŋk\

: a small black-and-white North American animal that produces a very strong and unpleasant smell when it is frightened or in danger

: a very bad or unpleasant person

plural skunks also skunk

Full Definition of SKUNK

a :  any of various common omnivorous black-and-white New World mammals (especially genus Mephitis) of the weasel family that have a pair of perineal glands from which a secretion of pungent and offensive odor is ejected
b :  the fur of a skunk
:  an obnoxious or disliked person

Examples of SKUNK

  1. Her brother's a low-down, dirty skunk.
  2. <he's nothing but a dirty, rotten skunk>

Illustration of SKUNK

Origin of SKUNK

earlier squuncke, from a Massachusett reflex of Algonquian *šeka·kwa, from šek- urinate + -a·kw fox, fox-like animal
First Known Use: 1634

Related to SKUNK

Other Mammals Terms

dormouse, dugong, gibbon, grimalkin, sable, stoat, ungulate, vole


transitive verb

Definition of SKUNK

a :  defeat
b :  to prevent entirely from scoring or succeeding :  shut out
:  to fail to pay; also :  cheat

Examples of SKUNK

  1. <we ended up skunking them, as our goalie was able to prevent the other team from scoring a single goal>
  2. <our football team consistently skunks our traditional rivals Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving>

First Known Use of SKUNK



geographical name

Definition of SKUNK

river 264 miles (425 kilometers) SE Iowa flowing SE into Mississippi River


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis).—E.R. Degginger

Any of several black-and-white New World species in the carnivore family Mephitidae that eject an odoriferous liquid (as far as 12 ft [3.7 m]) when threatened. The liquid becomes a fine mist that causes tearing of the eyes and choking. Some scent-gland secretions are used in perfume. Species vary in colour pattern and size. Most are 18–37 in. (46–93 cm) long, including the bushy tail, and weigh 2–13 lb (1–6 kg); the two species of spotted skunk (genus Spilogale) are much smaller. Skunks eat rodents, insects, eggs, birds, and plants. The striped, or common, skunk (Mephitis mephitis) is a nocturnal feeder that occurs in most of North America. With its scent glands removed, it is sometimes kept as a pet. The common skunk is a major carrier of rabies, which is fatal to skunks. The seven species of hog-nosed skunk (genus Conepatus) have a long, bald snout. The hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura) has a neck ruff.


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