Skookum - Do you know this word?

Today at work we got some new appliances for the kitchen, stainless steal and shiny. I said “Oh those are pretty skookum.” And my coworkers looked at me like :confused:. Not one of them had ever even heard of the word.

Now I’m from Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada and am currently living in Edmonton, Alberta.

Yes, I do. Lived in OR. WA, BC for a while each. Not sure in which I picked it up.

Isn’t it some sort of monster? :confused:

I know it only in the plural.

No, that would be snookums, with an “n” instead of a “k”.

I just checked Wikipedia, and yes an alternative meaning is a kind of monster.

There has to be a Jersey Shore joke in here somewhere.

I’ve never heard it before.

There’s a Skookum Lake and a Skookum Creek in northeastern Washington near the town of Usk. Used to camp up there a lot. Then I saw on one of those Big Foot shows on the Discovery Channel where they said Skookum was an Indian word for Big Foot. I kept an eye out for them when we went camping after that, but never saw one. :slight_smile:

I’ve heard it infrequently all my life, growing up in Idaho and Oregon. I think it’s one of those rare words of Northwestern origin that has made its way into the lexicon - the Northwest was one of the last parts of the continental U.S. to be settled and consequently most of our dialect is imported from somewhere else.

In ordinary use as an adjective it usually means “tough” or “durable”, as describing someone you don’t want to pick a fight with. The related "skookumchuck" is common in place names…I know of a Skookumchuck Creek in Northern Idaho and Wikipedia lists several others. The Skookum name was also given by Northwest lumbermen to a class of locomotive that was designed for use on logging railroads.
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I know it. Born in central BC, used to live near Skoocumchuk.

And that’s why you know it and use it. It’s a very Pacific Northwest kind-of-word. I’m from central BC and I know the word, too.

It seems like the word was used in Jack London’s book The Call of the Wild. Maybe a place name?

Other than that I’ve never heard a fellow human being utter it in my whole life. :slight_smile:

Since I grew up in Southeast Alaska, yes. I still use it to this day. A Tagish Indian who was known as Skookum Jim is credited with making the initial gold discovery that started the Klondike gold rush.

Yes. Learned it when I got here. I use it sometimes.

Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind I recognized the word as Indian, probably from a book I read. However I have never heard it used in conversation, and I live in Southwest Ontario.

Wisconsin - I never heard that word, but now I’ve read it.

Born and raised on the prairies - I’m familiar with the word, never heard anyone say it. Well, maybe not never; maybe just extremely rarely.

I worked with a disaster incident management team out of the Washington / Oregon area and our team leader used it in this context: “My wife is pretty skookum witht the news” to mean that she’d been keeping track of current events and was up to date with things. I’d not heard the word before and inquired about it. He said it was multi-purpose but generally meant good / positive / neat / nice. I like it, but being from and living in the South it would definitely confuse folks here, y’all.

It’s generally used to denote something that is strong, well-built, sturdy, etc. In your context, it would seem to mean something different than that, but the meaning has probably broadened over the years.