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 Evolutionarily speaking, seals are thought to be most closely related to bears and the group of animals that includes weasels and otters, as well as skunks, raccoons, and red pandas. National Geographic, "Seals," 24 Dec. 2019 After the attack, wildlife officials had animal hair found at the scene tested, revealing the attacker was a raccoon, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Fox News, "Update: Raccoon attacked Florida couple, not bobcat," 12 Oct. 2019 Police and firefighters easily picked up the baby raccoons, but the mother eluded capture. CBS News, "Raccoon family falls through ceiling of Michigan home," 7 May 2018 Hatcheries can jump-start fish populations, add to fishing success and produce a food source for wildlife, from bald eagles to raccoons to bears. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Like in Alaska, salmon draw in bears on Tahoe creeks," 19 Oct. 2019 Up until recently, the baby raccoon was unable to walk because of a traumatic brain injury. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Baby Raccoon Takes First Steps Thanks to Donated Custom Wheelchair," 13 Aug. 2019 Utility officials say a raccoon is to blame for a power outage that affected Illinois state office buildings in Springfield. chicagotribune.com, "Utility: Raccoon to blame for Springfield power outage," 2 July 2019 Creatures like raccoons are textbook generalists, which inhabit varied environments and consume diverse foods. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "The World Is Our Niche," 3 June 2019 The predators most vulnerable to death from secondary poisoning are coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks and birds of prey, says Stella McMillin, a scientist at California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife who supports the bill. The Economist, "A Californian bill would make it harder to control the state’s thriving rats," 21 Nov. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of raccoon

1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for raccoon

Virginia Algonquian raugroughcun, arocoun

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Time Traveler for raccoon

Time Traveler

The first known use of raccoon was in 1608

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Statistics for raccoon

Last Updated

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Raccoon.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raccoon. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for raccoon


How to pronounce raccoon (audio)

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

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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

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