from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Excellent, impressive.
  • adjective big, strong, durable, reliable, trustworthy, doughty
  • noun An evil spirit or woodland monster/giant
  • noun a type of doll based on the mythical woodland monster


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested in 1825–35. From Chinook Jargon, from Lower Chehalis.


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  • a lovely, all purpose positive adjective meaning: well done, large, good, strong, genuine, cool, etc.

    March 14, 2007

  • from the Chinook Jargon Widely used in the Pacific Northwest

    June 15, 2007

  • Makes me think of a bunch of cannibals building a fire for the Missionary Soup they anticipate. "Hey, skookum!" :-)

    May 1, 2009

  • "Skookum" is an expression unique to the Pacific Northwestern culture, based probably on Native American translation, for someone who has knowledge about a particular thing, idea, or concept. For example, "He's really skookum about wood carving."

    September 14, 2009

  • From an old Chinook glossary

    "Skoo kum or Skoo koom n adj Chihalis Skukum A ghost an evil spirit or demon strong Skookum tumtum brave skookum chuck a rapid "

    February 4, 2013

  • Skookumchuck Creek is a tributary of the Salmon River in Idaho.

    February 4, 2013

  • The Chinook dictionary that I rely on most is:

    Chinook: A History and Dictionary by Edward Harper Thomas, first published in 1935. The author defines skookum as follows:

    "Strong, powerful, potent. Originally a ghost, evil spirit, or demon.

    This is one of the best known, most widely used and significant words in the Jargon. Its adoption by people of the Northwest has made it a regional English word...In fact, it is so common on the Pacific Coast as to have almost lost its Indian significance."

    May 14, 2015