squir·rel | \ˈskwər(-ə)l, 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

b : ground squirrel

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

After Kowalski captured the squirrel in a net, Sweatt tried to grab the net and pull it away, and while Kowalski was trying to transfer the animal to a carrier Sweatt pushed Kowalski then punched her in the arm, police said. Shawn R. Beals, Courant Community, "Middletown Police: Animal Control Officer Punched, Shoved While Capturing Injured Squirrel On Main Street," 27 Apr. 2018 Frequent travelers along Highway 71 have likely noticed the giant 14-foot squirrel named Ms. Pearl lording over Berdoll Pecan Candy and Gift Company in Cedar Creek, beckoning people stop and visit the store. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Yes, you can buy a whole pecan pie from a vending machine in Texas," 11 Apr. 2018 Even after a coal-mining accident left him paralyzed from the waist down at age 21, Dillon would shoot turkey, squirrel and deer from the seat of his four-wheeler. Jonel Aleccia And Melissa Bailey, USA TODAY, "Unlocked and loaded: Families confront dementia and guns," 1 July 2018 Even after a coal-mining accident left him paralyzed from the waist down at age 21, Dillon would shoot turkey, squirrel and deer from the seat of his four-wheeler. NBC News, "Unlocked And loaded: Families confront dementia and guns," 26 June 2018 Usually the only things lurking in the cabin's shadows are squirrels and lizards. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Sedona hike ends at historic cabin from a Hollywood Western movie," 9 May 2018 Animal hospital Set up a ward for sick squirrels and injured iguanas in one of the kid’s bedrooms. Sarah Ivens, The Courier-Journal, "Here's how to entertain your kids on a snow day," 11 Jan. 2018 Sometimes squirrels come in because of people doing tree work, and the babies fall from the tree. National Geographic, "How Animal Rescues Like Justin Beaver Help Their Species," 7 Apr. 2018 But most visible was what the vehicle towed: a wagon containing a giant-sized squirrel. Detroit Free Press, "Corvettes and horses share the road during Oak Park's July 4 parade," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For his part, Mr. Cuomo spent most of the last six months squirreling away his cash, operating with a lean political staff dedicated mostly to raising more money. Shane Goldmacher, New York Times, "Cuomo Amasses $30 Million War Chest," 17 Jan. 2018 Just don’t forget to squirrel some away for next year’s Fourth of July. David Tanis, New York Times, "A Cheeseburger That Brings the Summer Heat," 29 June 2018 And 15% of people admit to squirreling things away in the trunk of their car. Southern Living, "Gasp! A Surprising Number of Closet-Starved Americans Are Using Their Ovens for Storage," 21 June 2018 There’s an entire economy around sneaker Instagram: influencers make a living posting shoes, others buy sneakers to create content before squirreling the kicks away. Cam Wolf, GQ, "The Rules of the Gym, According to the Hot Dudes of ‘Insecure’," 15 June 2018 Most of us, having got a whiff of what was going on, were busy squirreling ours away. Jim Mclauchlin, WIRED, "The Secret History of the Racy Module That Almost Ruined D&D," 12 June 2018 Don't forget to squirrel away cash for emergencies. Darla Mercado, USA TODAY, "1-in-3 workers can’t answer this question about their retirement savings," 28 Apr. 2018 Residents squirrel away money, not sure whether to trust the boom. Bob Davis, WSJ, "The Future of America’s Economy Looks a Lot Like Elkhart, Indiana," 6 Apr. 2018 There are ones to keep out on your counter day-in and day-out, and ones to squirrel away in the back of your pantry for when your fanciest friends come for dinner. Brette Warshaw, GQ, "The Best Olive Oils for Any Kitchen," 26 Apr. 2018

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.

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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

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Phrases Related to squirrel

squirrel away

Statistics for squirrel

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

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

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More Definitions for squirrel



English Language Learners Definition of squirrel

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


squir·rel | \ˈskwər-əl \

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

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Comments on squirrel

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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