raccoon

play
noun rac·coon \ra-ˈkün also rə-\
variants: or less commonly

Definition of raccoon

plural

raccoon

or

raccoons

also

racoon

or

racoons

  1. 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 nutsb :  the pelt of this animal

  2. 2 :  any of several animals resembling or related to the raccoon

Recent Examples of raccoon from the Web

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.

Illustration of raccoon

Origin and Etymology of raccoon

Virginia Algonquian raugroughcun, arocoun

Other Mammals Terms


RACCOON Defined for English Language Learners

raccoon

play
noun

Definition of raccoon for English Language Learners

  • : 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


RACCOON Defined for Kids

raccoon

noun rac·coon \ra-ˈkün\

Definition of raccoon for Students

  1. :  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

History for raccoon

Like hickory, moccasin, and tomahawk, the word raccoon comes from an American Indian language that was spoken around the Jamestown settlement in Virginia. The English colonist John Smith—famous for having his life spared by Pocahontas—first recorded the name for the unfamiliar animal as aroughcun, rarowcun, and raugroughcun.



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