Skank - definition by gender

At first, I thought it was just me. At a restaurant, I got some bad iced tea and asked the waitress for a fresh glass because what I’d gotten tasted “skanky”. I’ll never forget the look my boyfriend-at-the-time gave me.

To me, skanky means yucky, dirty, or nasty. To him, it meant . . . hmm, there’s no delicate way to put this, so forgive me, Nickrz . . . to him, it meant cunt. And not just any c***, but unhygenic, distasteful, barely worthwhile c***. A man looking for some skank is usually going to put on beer goggles for the evening, if you follow my drift.

So, I asked around a bit, and every guy I asked agreed with my boyfriend. I had, apparently, told the waitress that my tea tasted like dirty vagina.

Every woman I asked thought the same as I did. Nasty, dirty, icky, but without any sexual - let alone female genitalial - connotation. I’ve even heard two or three women use the word in passing, and they are just not the sort who would throw “c***” around.

Anyone else run into this dichotomy? Has it occurred with any words other than “skank” or “skanky”? I’m also thinking that it’s American, as a Canadian show I loved, “Forever Knight”, had a character named Skanky.

Boy, that’s quite a specific definition. I’ve always thought of skank in much more general terms, i.e., a woman with various undesirable qualities, many of them relating to uncleanliness and a generally low nature. “She’s a skank.” “What a skank!” “Bob’s trolling the skanky gals tonight!”
I don’t think I’d call my iced tea skanky, but your boyfriend seems to have some very detailed thoughts on the subject.
– Greg, Atlanta

The term skanky was used on a beer commercial recently, IIRC. The person didn’t want the skanky beer he was given but the beer that the commercial was advertising.
I’m not sure what beer it was, though.

“[He] beat his fist down upon the table and hurt his hand and became so
further enraged… that he beat his fist down upon the table even harder and
hurt his hand some more.” – Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

I’ve heard the term thousands of times - always applied to a physically (and sometimes sexually) unnatractive female.

“She’s a skank.” means she’s a dog, and sometimes slutty woofer as well.

I’m a male, and I’ve never heard the connotation your boyfriend describes, but words do change meanings or acquire new ones. Maybe it’s and age thing? (I’m “older”).

Btw, phouka, you don’t have to worry about using “bad words” around me. I’m not a prude.

(I have leared to be VERY careful with that “c-word” - as far as I’m concerned, that’s about the ultimate insult one can deal a female of the species, and I’ve only used it during nuclear exchanges). :wink:

I, too, am familiar with “skanky” (noun form, “skank”) as meaning “undesirable female” – e.g., a stripper or centerfold that you’d rather see put her clothes back on. It’s quite common among males with that meaning.

This other meaning is utterly new to me.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

Hey, krish . . . .

I think you’re remembering Budweiser’s Born-On Dating campaign, but the competitor’s beer was described as “skunky,” not “skanky.”

I’ve always used “skanky” as a descriptive term for something gross, as well. I’ve never been corrected for it. And I’ve also heard men refered to as “skanks.”

We always used “skank” for a slutty girl. The connection is that her–umm, c*** would be really nasty because of multiple partners and not enough cleaning.

Around here a skank is a woman of many questionable qualities.
Not any specific part of her, nor anything else under the sun like a bunk glass of tea.

Nickrz, it’s funny that you say calling a girl a cunt is perhaps the worst insult. I agree that it is, but in Spanish, the word coño means cunt, but when spoken as an expletive, it is not very offensive at all. It’s the equivalent of “darn.”

I don’t know who first said “everyone’s a critic,” but I think it’s a really stupid saying.

Skank isn’t terribly offensive. I seem to recall it being used on network TV. It is usually applied anly to females, but I’ve never heard it used as a reference to the vagina specifically.

Also: skank, as a verb, refers to the jerky running-man-esque dance that people do when listening to ska.

      • As I hear it among the local teens, “skank” is a term used for undesirable females (or parts thereof) and “skeeze”(pronounced “skis”) is the term for undesirable males.
      • I seem to remember on an episode of “Just Shoot Me” a female character got drunk at a company party and made out with a guy there. Someone else on the show later referred to it as “Skanko-Roman wrestling”. (I kinda like that term) - MC

Among the people I know “skank” would refer to a woman of… ahem… loose morals, while “skanky” is one of those broadly defined terms that can be applied to almost anything that’s generally really nasty. This could mean that I have a skanky smelling iced tea in front of me (which to me sounds like it would have to smell like a rotting washcloth), or it could be a badly oversexed and unwashed set of genitalia. I think it could probably be used in almost any context, but I tend to think of it as a very strong word.

(Just a thought, I’m in Minnesota, but there seem to be a lot of differing opinions on the meaning for different people. Could this be a regional thing? I know that pretty much just us Minnesotans will say something like “ishy” instead of “icky”.)

I suprised this is such a unusual contradiction. I’ve grown up with this word and have always understood that in different contexts it always means differing things. Kinda the same way fuck has a variety of meaning depending on context.

Skanky in a gender nuetral sense means dirty. One would describe a person with nappy hair, dread locks, filthy clothes whatever as a skank. It would never be understood as especially crude, but the meaning is clear. It also could be used to descibe things as opposed to people, but that is quite uncommon, but i doubt anyone would equate it to the vagina as your boyfriend. The most common alternative meaning is used to descibe slutty women. I’ve heard it used to describe men who are lechers, but that is rare and is usually done to illustrate the point that there is a male/female double standard when it comes to sex. In common use it is the more descriptive term for slutty. Not only does she sleep with lots of people (ie a slut), but she carries herself in a sleazy way, tight clothes, big hair, lots of skin, or she can be described in the nuetral way in that she is both a dirty, messy, girl who also is a slut.

Now I see where the slutty conotation could translate to a symbolism of a flithy vagina, but it is in no way directly insinuated. Keep in mind that it takes time for new slang expression to get homogonized, depending on your location, you may have not adopted the same definition as we have.

For the first few seasons of Forever Knight, Nick Knight had a partner whose last name was Schanche, or a similar spelling, pronounced like “skanky”. Their replacing him with the ditzy blonde upset me, though not as much as some of the other cast changes that season…

Obligatory On-Topic Bit:
When the word “skanky” refers to a woman, I interpret it as a synonym for “slutty”. Referring to anything else, it denotes rank vileness in a general sense.
I’ve only ever heard the noun “skank” used to describe a woman, at which time it took in both of the definitions above.

It’s funny Skank, as applying to a girl refers to an undesirable female (i thought this was widely known) Skag is also a similar namesake.

Skank as a verb referrs to the jerky rhythmic dance done to jamaican or ska music (in fact Ska came from Skank).

Also I agree when referring to a drink skunky is the term I have heard also for a bad tasting beverage.

To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.

My interpretation: Skank = sleazy, ugly and dirty woman.

BTW, it was “Seinfeld” not “Somebody Shoot Me” that featured the “skanko-Roman wrestling” gag. Elaine got drunk at an office party and made out with a co-worker, thus becoming “the office skank.” “Somebody Shoot Me” DID have one of my recent favorite gags though – when Finch said of someone, “He couldn’t get lucky in a monkey whore-house with a bag full of bananas.” Cute.


Full of 'satiable curtiosity

My $.02: I also always understood the word(s) “skank/skanky” to mean, um, of loose morals, particularly a female. In college there was one girl in particular who was fairly trampy (in appearance and in actions) and she was known as “the dorm skank.” We also occasionally used the word in the same context with men, but it always seemed like more of a female term.

Since my definition of it is more along the lines of “slutty” or “trampy,” I’ve never used it to describe, say, a glass of iced-tea. It’s a pretty specific adjective (at least in my usage), so it doesn’t get used much. But this understanding of the word doesn’t seem to me to be incompatible with it meaning something sexually dirty, since “bad girls” were often considered “dirty.” For me, though, it was one of those words like “nitty-gritty” that I used without really knowing what it literally meant. Now that you guys have suggested the “dirty vagina” definition, I doubt I’ll ever use the word again. Thanks so much.

My 0.02 - I’ve only head the word used in connotation with physical lack of appeal, generally in reference to hygiene, and reference to both sexes, although usage tends to favor (sic!) females.

That said, I’ve also seen T-shirts for “Skankin’ Pickle” - a record label which, IIRC, was primarily concerned with ska.

Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

actually skankin pickle is a so-cal band that plays ska. (as attributed to the aforementioned skank as a dance comment)

To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.