rac·​coon ra-ˈkün How to pronounce raccoon (audio)
 also  rə-
variants or less commonly racoon
plural raccoon or raccoons also racoon or racoons
: 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
: the pelt of this animal
: 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 That 24/7 security was the result of a different taxidermy heist that occurred in August 2023, when two full-body-mount raccoons were stolen. Katie Hill, Outdoor Life, 1 Feb. 2024 Detecting this variant hundreds of miles away in the Midwest raised concerns about a potential outbreak and launched a public health task force to vaccinate all raccoons in the area. Discover Magazine, 9 Jan. 2024 That meant wild animals like raccoons, livestock such as sheep, and other animals seen as novelties were fair game for pet cafes – which were further shielded by their official business registration as restaurants or rest areas. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, 12 Jan. 2024 Purring is mostly exclusive to cats, although certain other species can produce purr-like sounds, including raccoons, mongooses, kangaroos, badgers, rabbits, and guinea pigs. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 5 Oct. 2023 Our work shows that wild pigs can alter the behavior of common native wildlife species, such as raccoons, squirrels and deer. Discover Magazine, 26 Dec. 2023 The company also makes an oral version that is used to vaccinate raccoons and other land-dwelling wild animals. Emily Mullin, WIRED, 31 Oct. 2023 Next door is a vacant home where rats, mice, roaches, nests of hornets, feral cats and a family of raccoons live. Giacomo Bologna, Baltimore Sun, 22 Aug. 2023 Our visiting raccoon is not the only wild neighbor to take advantage of our lodging options at Mt. Hoo. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'raccoon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Virginia Algonquian raugroughcun, arocoun

First Known Use

1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of raccoon was in 1608

Dictionary Entries Near raccoon

Cite this Entry

“Raccoon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raccoon. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants also racoon
plural raccoon or raccoons also racoon or racoons
: a small North American mammal that is mostly gray with a black mask, has a bushy ringed tail, lives chiefly in trees and is active at night, and eats a varied diet including small animals, fruits, eggs, and insects
also : the pelt of a raccoon

Virginia Algonquian raugroughcoon, arocoun "racoon"

More from Merriam-Webster on raccoon

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