Share this entry

skunk Syllabification: skunk
Pronunciation: /skəNGk/

Definition of skunk in English:


1A cat-sized American mammal of the weasel family, with distinctive black-and-white-striped fur. When threatened it squirts a fine spray of foul-smelling irritant liquid from its anal glands toward its attacker.
  • Mephitis and other genera, family Mustelidae: several species, in particular the striped skunk (M. mephitis)
Example sentences
  • The weasel family includes such colourful characters as otters, wolverines, skunks, minks and badgers.
  • All kinds of critters like to dine on poultry, including raccoons, skunks, opossums, weasels, foxes, coyotes, dogs and feral cats.
  • The spray from a skunk will not cause permanent blindness.
1.1The fur of the skunk.
Example sentences
  • After purchasing a cap made of skunk fur and unable to hold any more purchases, he found himself back at the kissing booth.
1.2 informal A contemptible person.
Example sentences
  • I can't believe that stinky skunk hung up on me!
  • Some talk as if you were the skunk at the garden party.
  • He's a wily, nefarious skunk, is what he is, gang.


[with object] North American informal Back to top  
1Defeat (someone) overwhelmingly in a game or contest, especially by preventing them from scoring at all.
Example sentences
  • After that, we went to play a round of pool so that I could redeem myself, and we both thought for a bit that I was going to skunk him.
  • Been skunked a few times this year, even though you used your favorite rod, went to your super-secret spot and wore your lucky underwear?
  • If weather skunked our 14-day road trip, we would at least hit the most spectacular ski area in Canada.
2 dated Fail to pay (a bill or creditor).


Mid 17th century: from Massachusett squunck; cognate forms occur in many other American Indian languages.

Words that rhyme with skunk

bunk, chunk, clunk, drunk, dunk, flunk, funk, gunk, hunk, Monck, monk, plunk, shrunk, slunk, stunk, sunk, thunk, trunk

Definition of skunk in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day whippersnapper
Pronunciation: ˈ(h)wipərˌsnapər
a young, inexperienced person considered presumptuous or overconfident...