rac·​coon | \ ra-ˈkün also rə- How to pronounce raccoon (audio) \
variants: or less commonly
plural raccoon or raccoons also racoon or racoons

Definition of raccoon

1a : a small nocturnal carnivore (Procyon lotor) of North America that is chiefly gray, has a black mask and bushy ringed tail, lives chiefly in trees, and has a varied diet including small animals, fruits, and nuts
b : the pelt of this animal
2 : any of several animals resembling or related to the raccoon

Illustration of raccoon

Illustration of raccoon

raccoon 1a

Examples of raccoon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Sarah Bowman/IndyStar Indiana's bobcats, raccoons, opossums and coyotes might be spared after all. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "Bobcats, raccoons and coyotes might be saved, now it's up to the Natural Resources Commission," 10 May 2018 The open water surrounding the islands helps protect the highly vulnerable concentrations of ground-nesting birds from predation from raccoons, snakes and other terrestrial predators. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Cow Trap Lake Project a success on multiple levels," 10 May 2018 Opossums, raccoons, feral cats and hawks also made meals of the eggs. Billy Witz, New York Times, "After Yankees Exile ‘Goose’ and Then the Geese, Who’s Next?," 3 Mar. 2018 Female alligators are particularly territorial and protective of their young in the summer until about September, Magill said, when raccoons and vultures seek out the eggs. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "An alligator trapped a teenage girl in a tree. Then a deputy arrived with an AR-15.," 3 July 2018 The hole is being controlled by mischievous raccoons that are hungry for trash (and by the player). Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Donut County is a game about swallowing Los Angeles and realizing you’re an asshole," 1 Sep. 2018 The date ends with a random singer-songwriter (Ben Rector, according to Google) plays soft acoustic music while Krystal and Chris dance in the middle of the pool and the raccoon wanders around. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "Bachelor in Paradise Season 5, Episode 9 Recap: We Need to Talk About the 'Russian Witch Hunt'," 5 Sep. 2018 Charges aren't pending, even though in all likelihood the raccoon is a repeat offender. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waukesha woman mistakes raccoon for burglar, calls police," 13 June 2018 Firefighters at Wayne Township [Ind.] Station 82 opened the door early Friday morning to a one-of-a-kind request for help: A frantic woman, distressed because her pet raccoon was stoned off of too much weed. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Texas tussle stretches Senate map," 18 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'raccoon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of raccoon

1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for raccoon

Virginia Algonquian raugroughcun, arocoun

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about raccoon

Statistics for raccoon

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for raccoon

The first known use of raccoon was in 1608

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for raccoon



English Language Learners Definition of raccoon

: a small North American animal with grayish-brown fur that has black fur around its eyes and black rings around its tail
: the fur of a raccoon


rac·​coon | \ ra-ˈkün\

Kids Definition of raccoon

: a small North American animal that is mostly gray with black around the eyes, has a bushy tail with black rings, is active mostly at night, and eats small animals, fruits, eggs, and insects

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on raccoon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with raccoon

Spanish Central: Translation of raccoon

Nglish: Translation of raccoon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about raccoon

Comments on raccoon

What made you want to look up raccoon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!