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: Verb Spenard is named for the bootlegger and squatter Joe Spenard. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "History of the ‘Phantom Swede’ and the origin of Bootlegger Cove’s name," 1 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The small squatter community in Southern California's Sonoran Desert has no running water, no electricity and no plumbing, and most summer days are 100 degrees or hotter. Washington Post, "Fear of the pandemic reaches California’s Slab City, an off-the-grid desert community," 8 June 2020 Behind our home was another, more fallen house, occupied by a succession of squatters, adventurers, and families in transition. Hal Herring, Field & Stream, "How Do You Cope with the Death of a Great Dog?," 12 May 2020 Most belong to people who have been beaten down by life, including squatters and tenants in an RV rental black market. Los Angeles Times, "In coronavirus fight, workers in ski masks are holding L.A.'s social safety net together," 1 Apr. 2020 At the turn of the 20th century, Tucson only had one public facility for consumptive patients, St. Mary’s Hospital and Sanatorium, along with a sprawling squatter’s camp known as Tentville. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "A century before coronavirus, Arizona was a haven for people fleeing another fearsome disease," 11 May 2020 The land was purchased by Oliver Phelps, but was inhabited only by squatters and hunter/trappers. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "Granger Township celebrates the 1820s in 2020," 17 Feb. 2020 Before long, smoke from the fires of simple timber homes marked the presence of a different kind of settler than the Virginian gentleman farmer: the intrepid woodsman squatter. Longreads, "In Pocahontas County, Deep Divisions and a Gruesome Discovery," 22 Jan. 2020 Title issues, and problems with a squatter, complicated the process, Hagestad said. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "Irving demolition crew tears down wrong Vickery Place home in ‘heartbreaking’ error," 22 Feb. 2020 Another squatter, in a house owned by a developer boyfriend, is one of the groupies, Tami Rowland. Charles Mcgrath, New York Times, "A Winning Baseball Novel by the Editor of The Paris Review," 3 Feb. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of squatter


1785, in the meaning defined above


1788, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for squatter



Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about squatter

Time Traveler for squatter

Time Traveler

The first known use of squatter was in 1785

See more words from the same year

Statistics for squatter

Last Updated

22 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Squatter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squatter. Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on squatter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!