Word of the Week: February 12, 2024

Word of the Week: a bookish meme hosted here on Mondays in which we share a word that we find entertaining, enlightening, edifying, or just plain fun to say! Share your own word on your blog, then help me grow the meme and come share it here on mine!

This week’s word is one I’ve heard and used before, but never in this context. I learned a new definition for it from RobWords.

Everybody knows the skunk, the black-and white striped mammal with the outrageous odor. I’d always heard “skunked” used as a verb in the context of one of Merriam-Webster’s definitions, that is, to soundly defeat or shut out an opponent in sports. But I learned from RobWords’ video that dictionary writers use the term to refer to a word that has been used in such a way as to take on an alternate meaning. (Start at about 1:49 for the discussion of “skunked,” but watch the whole video because it’s interesting!) This fascinated me both on a personal level and on the editorial level. If I ever have an opportunity to edit a dictionary, I’ll know what someone means when they say a word has been skunked!

Had you ever heard “skunked” used in this manner before? Do you ever see yourself using it in conversation?

Got a word? Share it below. Then share the meme to help it grow!

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