skunk

noun
\ ˈskəŋk How to pronounce skunk (audio) \
plural skunks also skunk

Definition of skunk

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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
2 : an obnoxious or disliked person

skunk

verb
skunked; skunking; skunks

Definition of skunk (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : defeat
b : to prevent entirely from scoring or succeeding : shut out
2 : to fail to pay also : cheat

Skunk

geographical name

Definition of Skunk (Entry 3 of 3)

river 264 miles (425 kilometers) long in southeastern Iowa flowing southeast into the Mississippi River

Illustration of skunk

Illustration of skunk

Noun

skunk 1a

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for skunk

Synonyms: Noun

bastard, beast, bleeder [British], blighter [chiefly British], boor, bounder, bugger, buzzard, cad, chuff, churl, clown, creep, cretin, crud [slang], crumb [slang], cur, dirtbag [slang], dog, fink, heel, hound, jerk, joker, louse, lout, pill, rat, rat fink, reptile, rotter, schmuck [slang], scum, scumbag [slang], scuzzball [slang], sleaze, sleazebag [slang], sleazeball [slang], slime, slimeball [slang], slob, snake, so-and-so, sod [chiefly British], stinkard, stinker, swine, toad, varmint, vermin

Synonyms: Verb

annihilate, blow away, bomb, bury, clobber, cream, drub, dust, flatten, paste, rout, shellac, skin, smoke [slang], smother, snow under, thrash, trim, tromp, trounce, wallop, wax [slang], whip, whomp, whop (or whap), whup

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of skunk in a Sentence

Noun

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

Verb

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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Some of the animals cared for include bobcats, foxes, skunks, rabbits, black bear cubs, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, javelinas and porcupines. USA TODAY, "Chicago cows, bras for turtles, gold rush: News from around our 50 states," 1 July 2019 The cases acquired in the United States came from wildlife species, with 70% resulting from bat bites or scratches and the rest due to human contact with raccoons, skunks or foxes. Minali Nigam, CNN, "Most rabies infections in the United States come from bats, CDC says," 12 June 2019 The diseases mainly affect dogs, but can include raccoons, skunks, coyotes, foxes and more. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Here's how to protect your pets from parvo and distemper," 8 June 2019 Any wild mammal including raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes can have rabies and infect humans, the health department said. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "Rabid bat found near Belmar spurs public health warning from Jefferson County," 17 June 2019 There are also copious birdlife and rare land creatures like the island fox, island spotted skunk, and island deer mouse. Joe Yogerst, National Geographic, "Top 10 wildlife encounters in parks," 9 Apr. 2019 In 2009, a rabies outbreak in gray foxes in Humboldt County, north of San Francisco, was traced back to skunk virus that had jumped to foxes. Quanta Magazine, "How Mutant Viral Swarms Spread Disease," 25 Aug. 2015 Almost always after dark, solo mothers would come into town looking for small prey, such as raccoons, skunks, turkeys or pets. Seth Boster, The Denver Post, "An up-close mission to understand mountain lions in Colorado — but is it too close?," 6 June 2019 Bats and skunks are the most common carriers of the disease in Michigan. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan health officials see uptick in bats with rabies," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Getting skunked Such discoveries are becoming rarer, however, as hunters grapple with a problem: fewer relics in circulation. Daisy Maxey, WSJ, "Coin-Roll Hunting: The Secrets of a Treasure-Seeking Hobby," 6 May 2018 The parochial interests of members whose bases were on the chopping block consistently skunked the endeavor. Jay Cost, National Review, "Good Riddance to IPAB, the Independent Payment Advisory Board," 12 Feb. 2018 Just like so many Mizzou fans did on Saturday at Memorial Stadium watching what is now Odom’s product get skunked 35-3 by Purdue. Vahe Gregorian, kansascity, "Debacle against Purdue cranks up heat on Mizzou coach Barry Odom — and it should," 16 Sep. 2017 Overcast and somewhat cool temperatures at Mandeville High School were John Curtis battled Covington for a 7-0 win and Riverside Academy skunked Mandeville 28-0. David Grunfeld, NOLA.com, "Get your mind off of Hurricane Harvey and check out the photos from the Mandeville prep football jamboree," 26 Aug. 2017 For someone who in the past felt lucky to find a few morels — and more than once had been skunked — this seemed nothing short of miraculous. Bill Sherwonit, Alaska Dispatch News, "Confessions of a morel hunter," 5 Aug. 2017 EAGLE LAKE Fishing continues to be slow with most anglers getting skunked or picking up just one or two trout. sacbee, "Salmon season off to slow start, but there are signs of hope," 31 July 2017 Because skunk spray is an oil and Dawn removes oil from animals so well, Dawn is a good tool in your arsenal of pet de-skunking. 5. Emily Main, Fox News, "7 summer pet problems solved," 11 July 2017 Jeff Alworth, the author of The Beer Bible, says that sun and even artificial light will skunk a beer. Danielle Tullo, Cosmopolitan, "13 Ways You're Drinking Wrong," 24 Nov. 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'skunk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of skunk

Noun

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1843, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for skunk

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about skunk

Dictionary Entries near skunk

skull-pan

skull session

skun

skunk

Skunk

skunk bear

skunkbill

Statistics for skunk

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for skunk

The first known use of skunk was in 1634

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for skunk

skunk

noun

English Language Learners Definition of skunk

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

skunk

noun
\ ˈskəŋk How to pronounce skunk (audio) \

Kids Definition of skunk

: a North American animal related to the weasels that has coarse black-and-white fur and can squirt out a fluid with a very unpleasant smell

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on skunk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with skunk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for skunk

Spanish Central: Translation of skunk

Nglish: Translation of skunk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of skunk for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about skunk

Comments on skunk

What made you want to look up skunk? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!