"As welcome/popular as a skunk at a lawn party/garden party/picnic” means not very welcome or popular at all. The saying has been cited in print since at least 1898, when the novel David Harum had “about as pop’lar in gen’ral ‘round here as a skunk in a hen-house.”
“As welcome as a skunk at a lawn party” is often claimed as a Texas saying or a Southern saying.
as welcome as a skunk at a lawn party
Definition: Not wanted or welcome.
Explanation: A skunk is never welcome anywhere. Some people are also not welcome, possibly because of something they have done or said.
Texas Slang Translation
As welcome as a skunk at a lawn party
David Harum: a story of American life
By Edward Noyes Westcott
New York, NY: Grosset & Dunlap
“Him an’ me are on putty friendly terms, but the fact is,” said David, in a semi-confidential tone, “he’s about an even combine of pykery an’ viniger, an’ about as pop’lar in gen’ral ‘round here as a skunk in a hen-house;...”
6 December 1899, Springfield (MA) Republican, pg. 14:
In fact, this war with the Boers seems to bring the British government somewhere in line with the man described by Daavid Harum, who was “about as popular as a skunk in a hen-house.”
September 1906, Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, “A Drink from the Hassayampa” by George Brydges Rodney, pg. 369:
“So one night, when me an’ the ole man was settin’ in his den, I says, ‘Look here, colonel, looks to me like I’m about as popular here as a skunk at a church social. What ‘s the matter?’”
The Car and the Lady
By Percy F. Megargel and Grace Sartwell Mason
New York, NY: The Baker and Taylor Company
“I’ll see you over the Divide myself — though I’m about as popular as a skunk at a picnic west of the hills!”
20 August 1910, San Jose (CA) Evening News, “San Jose Will Meet Watsonville Pippins” by Ernest Swift, pg. 7:
Charlie Murphy stands as well with the American League moguls as a skunk at a lawn party.
29 May 1911, New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune, pg. 8:
Gus Aaron says that his drummer is as popular as a skunk in a henhouse.
1 September 1913, Du;luth (MN) News-Tribune, “Short Sports,” pg. 3:
Bill is about as welcome as a skunk at a Sunday school picnic in the Quaker city.
5 February 1916, Logansport (IN) Chronicle, pg. 1, col. 3:
Since the water in the rivers started to do “stunts” and climb out of their banks, the Heating company is about as popular as a skunk at a lawn party.
My Lorraine Journal
By Edith O’Shaughnessy
New York, NY: Harper & Brothers
“We’re out to can the Kaiser, and he’ll take some canning yet, but I say next July he will be about as welcome as a skunk at a lawn-party.”
Google News Archive
6 February 1918, McGill Daily (Montreal), “Interesting Letter Reco, from Front,” pg. 1, col. 4:
,,,however, we eventually arrived at 5:15 p.m., only to find that our sector had moved out four hours earlier, and we were about as welcome as a skunk at a garden party.
More Texas sayings than you can shake a stick at
By Anne Dingus
Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing
As welcome as a skunk at a lawn party.
Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit:
And Other Country Sayings, Say-So’s, Hoots and Hollers
By Allan Zullo and Gene Cheek
Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Pub.
He’s as welcome as a skunk at a church picnic.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Wednesday, July 27, 2011 • Permalink
I have never heard that phrase before and I love it! It’s the perfect way to describe a specific person I know. lol It also makes perfect sense too. Imagine you are hosting a wonderful lawn party. People are sitting on the patio chatting. Somebody is grilling some amazing food. Music is in the background. About the only thing, other than maybe some bad weather, that could ruin the party would be a smelly skunk. I love this phrase and will be sure to use it when the time is right! Thank you for this