Skunk (?), n. [Contr. from the Abenaki (American Indian) seganku.] Zool.

Any one of several species of American musteline carnivores of the genus Mephitis and allied genera. They have two glands near the anus, secreting an extremely fetid liquid, which the animal ejects at pleasure as a means of defense.

The common species of the Eastern United States (Mephitis mephitica) is black with more or less white on the body and tail. The spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius), native of the Southwestern United States and Mexico, is smaller than the common skunk, and is variously marked with black and white.

Skunk bird, Skunk blackbird Zool., the bobolink; -- so called because the male, in the breeding season, is black and white, like a skunk. -- Skunk cabbage Bot., an American aroid herb (Symplocarpus f&oe;tidus>) having a reddish hornlike spathe in earliest spring, followed by a cluster of large cabbagelike leaves. It exhales a disagreeable odor. Also called swamp cabbage. -- Skunk porpoise. Zool. See under Porpoise.


© Webster 1913.

Skunk, v. t.

In games of chance and skill: To defeat (an opponent) (as in cards) so that he fails to gain a point, or (in checkers) to get a king.


U. S.]


© Webster 1913.