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

This provided some weight on the tail to prevent the skunk from raising it to spray. Kelsey Hammon, The Denver Post, "Firestone police officer avoids getting skunked during rescue," 1 Sep. 2019 Southwest Wildlife added that bears, coyotes, skunks, foxes and raccoons look forward to dry food along with their fresh food offerings. Serena O'sullivan, azcentral, "Conservation center needs donations to feed wildlife due to policy change," 11 Aug. 2019 In Maryland, foxes, raccoons, skunks, cats, and bats are the most common species to spread rabies, although all warm-blooded animals can carry the disease like sheep, cattle, goats, and ferrets and groundhogs. Iris Katz, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Pet Wise: Rabies represents a continued threat in Carroll County, even in 2019," 13 Sep. 2019 The Skunk Lady Reddit user Annepackrat writes that an old neighbor used to feed local skunks, and the smelly animals would hang around their apartment building as a result. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "These Neighbor Horror Stories Will Make You Cringe (and Then Hug Your Neighbor)," 11 Sep. 2019 Other new emojis include animals (a sloth, flamingo, skunk and orangutan), foods (waffle, falafel, butter and garlic) and gender-neutral characters, along with more professions and clothing types. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "Apple unveils disability-themed emojis in push for greater diversity," 17 July 2019 Because the cat may have spread the rabies to other animals, the department advised that people in the affected area avoid stray cats and dogs as well as wildlife such as raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, "Rabies alert issued for Disney's Epcot Center after infected cat scratches performers," 11 July 2019 Though Edith has since died, @OfficerEdith carries on, sharing an inside view of animal control, including adoptable critters, occasional lost dog alerts and gasp-inducingly cute photos of baby skunks for more than 17,000 followers. Sarah Feldberg, SFChronicle.com, "@OfficerEdith is the patron saint of San Francisco animals," 16 Aug. 2019 More than 200 deaths were nontarget animals, including foxes, opossums, raccoons, skunks and a bear. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, "Trump administration reauthorizes use of "cyanide bombs" to kill wild animals," 8 Aug. 2019

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

3 Oct 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

suitable to be imparted to the public

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!