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squirrel

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noun squir·rel \ ˈskwər(-ə)l , ˈskwə-rəl , chiefly British ˈskwir-əl \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of squirrel

plural squirrels also squirrel
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

Recent Examples of squirrel from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Other Mammals Terms


2

squirrel

verb

Definition of squirrel

squirreled or squirrelled; squirreling or squirrelling
transitive verb
:to store up for future use often used with away
  • squirrel away some money

Recent Examples of squirrel from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of squirrel

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



SQUIRREL Defined for English Language Learners

squirrel

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noun

Definition of squirrel for English Language Learners

  • : a small animal with a long tail and soft fur that lives in trees


SQUIRREL Defined for Kids

squirrel

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noun squir·rel \ ˈskwər-əl \

Definition of squirrel for Students

: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

History for squirrel

When a squirrel sits up, its long tail curves up and over its head and sometimes casts a shadow. The English word squirrel comes ultimately from the Greek word for a squirrel, skiouros, which is thought to mean “shadow-tailed” (skia, “shadow,” plus oura, “tail”).



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