squat·​ter | \ ˈskwä-tər How to pronounce squatter (audio) \
squattered; squattering; squatters

Definition of squatter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to go along through or as if through water ducks squattering to the shore



Definition of squatter (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that squats: such as
a : one that settles on property without right or title or payment of rent
b : one that settles on public land under government regulation with the purpose of acquiring title

Examples of squatter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This one was previously occupied by a squatter and had been taken over by police marshals. Whitney Robinson, ELLE Decor, "How an Uninhabitable "Dump" Became a Stunning Family Home in the East Village," 11 May 2018 The building was formally a headquarters for federal police but had been abandoned for many years and had been occupied by squatters, according to local media. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Sao Paulo high rise collapses during massive fire, at least 1 dead," 2 Oct. 2018 But it was abandoned after a banking crisis and in the past two decades of socialist rule has become a symbol of urban blight, having been occupied by squatters until 2015. Scott Smith, The Seattle Times, "Strong quake rocks Venezuela but little damage reported," 21 Aug. 2018 The lawsuits allege that property managers failed to respond to rodent and bedbug infestations, flooding and criminal squatters in vacant units, as well as broken heating systems in winter and sewage backups on G Street. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, "District sues landlord Sanford Capital over poor housing conditions. Again.," 15 Feb. 2018 On a recent morning, squatters who took over the Simón Bolivar plaza, one of the city’s largest, were preparing meals on small wood burning stoves. Ernesto LondoÑo, New York Times, "‘Their Country Is Being Invaded’: Exodus of Venezuelans Overwhelms Northern Brazil," 28 Apr. 2018 Some 700 riverbed squatters were given 30-day motel vouchers and referred to public services. Allysia Finley, WSJ, "Why California Leaves Its Homeless Out in the Sun," 11 May 2018 Back then, Section 114 was dotted with squatters from the nosebleeds. Maria Panaritis, Philly.com, "A confession to Sixers owner Josh Harris: I didn't 'trust the process' | Maria Panaritis," 13 Apr. 2018 The land bank shares the blame for its squatters' troubles. Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press, "Evictions, flipping tarnish effort to turn squatters into homeowners," 26 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'squatter.' 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 squatter


1785, in the meaning defined above


1788, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for squatter



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The first known use of squatter was in 1785

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More Definitions for squatter



English Language Learners Definition of squatter

: someone who lives in a building or on land without the permission of the owner and without paying : someone who squats


squat·​ter | \ ˈskwä-tər\

Legal Definition of squatter

: a person who occupies real property without a claim of right or title

Note: In most jurisdictions, a squatter cannot gain title to land through adverse possession because adverse possession requires possession of the property under a claim of right or color of title.

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More from Merriam-Webster on squatter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with squatter

Spanish Central: Translation of squatter

Britannica English: Translation of squatter for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about squatter

Comments on squatter

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


something valued as if it were money

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