squir·​rel | \ ˈskwər(-ə)l How to pronounce squirrel (audio) , ˈskwə-rəl, chiefly British ˈskwir-əl \
plural squirrels also squirrel

Definition of squirrel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of various small or medium-sized rodents (family Sciuridae, the squirrel family): such as
a : any of numerous New or Old World arboreal forms having a long bushy tail and strong hind legs
2 : the fur of a squirrel


squirreled or squirrelled; squirreling or squirrelling

Definition of squirrel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to store up for future use often used with away squirrel away some money

Examples of squirrel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun It was named Summit Lake, and then Alta Lake, and eventually Whistler because of the whistle sound made by its hoary marmots, a big squirrel-like animal. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 14 Mar. 2022 And suddenly, just a squirrel came in front of my feet. Allison Moses, USA TODAY, 1 May 2022 Aliperti was curious to see whether a squirrel went up to the mirror and touched it with its paws or nose. Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2022 But a cat is not a squirrel, and its menace looms above the oblivious father and uneasy daughter in images that convey the equivocal nature of the cat’s predator mind. Celia Storey, Arkansas Online, 4 Apr. 2022 Hibernating bear and squirrel brains go through a similar transformation, perhaps because the proteins help to protect neurons during the long rest. Chris Woolston, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Apr. 2022 Particularly interesting and startling is a tale of taxes, when, for a time, taxpayers had to pay a portion of their taxes in squirrel hides. Sam Boyer, cleveland, 28 Feb. 2022 Last year's creators came up with everything from an earthquake early warning device and math game made with Scratch to a squirrel detection system and a cybersecurity website. Stephanie Mlot, PCMAG, 18 Jan. 2022 In a video that went viral this week, a shirtless man in a straw hat can be seen feeding an overly curious squirrel at the Grand Canyon. Lauren Steele, Outside Online, 6 Aug. 2014 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb With that metaphor of burying acorns for possible future growth in mind, the creative team behind the app tapped Walken to voice the character of a no-nonsense New York City squirrel to get ordinary people to start investing for their future. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 May 2022 Columnist Dan Walters followed the money, and found that a loophole was allowing some districts to squirrel away state money that should be going to close the gap. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2021 So how are wealthy taxpayers able to squirrel away millions in these modest plans? Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 30 Sep. 2021 Despite the pandemic, Indianapolis has still managed to squirrel away money in its fund balance reserves at a level higher than city policy requires. Amelia Pak-harvey, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Aug. 2021 But while Switzerland has in many ways cleaned up its reputation as a hub for the rich and powerful to squirrel away funds and avoid taxes, experts say many autocrats are still drawn to the discretion and stability of Swiss banking. Jamey Keaten, ajc, 15 June 2021 Switzerland long had a reputation as a haven for tax dodgers to squirrel away their money to avoid fiscal authorities abroad. Jamey Keaten, Star Tribune, 30 Apr. 2021 At the very least, Brewer can be a bridge from one era to the next, a still-valuable player and voice who’s eager to create a few more everlasting memories to squirrel away alongside that dazzling double-overtime battle against USC. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 9 Apr. 2021 Below, Utica opens up about the spine-tingling moment, what held her back in the competition, and the inspiration behind her Bob Ross squirrel wig. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 29 Mar. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'squirrel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of squirrel


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1925, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for squirrel


Middle English squirel, from Anglo-French escurel, esquirel, from Vulgar Latin *scuriolus, diminutive of scurius, alteration of Latin *sciurus, from Greek skiouros, probably from skia shadow + oura tail — more at shine, ass


from the squirrel's habit of storing up gathered nuts and seeds for winter use

Buying Guide

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Time Traveler for squirrel

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The first known use of squirrel was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near squirrel



squirrel's-foot fern

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Statistics for squirrel

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Squirrel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squirrel. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for squirrel


squir·​rel | \ ˈskwər-əl How to pronounce squirrel (audio) \

Kids Definition of squirrel

: a small gnawing animal that is a rodent usually with a bushy tail and soft fur and strong hind legs used especially for leaping among tree branches

More from Merriam-Webster on squirrel

Nglish: Translation of squirrel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of squirrel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about squirrel


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