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 Clean every squirrel, and cook them for yourself or share them. David E. Petzal, Field & Stream, "What Would You Do with the Last Box of .22 Ammunition?," 27 Nov. 2020 In any event, this squirrel’s tail flips around to make a fine cuppa. Jason Lederman, Popular Science, "Twenty-seven fail-safe present ideas for your office gift exchange," 3 Dec. 2019 Anyone hoping that the angry-squirrel grille of the 4-series would be a one-off, or downplayed in subsequent models, is set to be disappointed. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "2022 BMW iX Electric Crossover Will Offer 500 HP, 300-Mile Range," 11 Nov. 2020 After a squirrel bounded across home plate during the 2011 playoffs, the champion St. Louis Cardinals included a tiny image of the rodent. Los Angeles Times, "Beneath the bling: Lakers championship rings feature many special surprises," 15 Jan. 2021 Frederick, who was attacked on December 21, warned her neighbor, Licia Wang, to look out for the aggressive squirrel. refinery29.com, "And Now For The Season Finale Of 2020, The Squirrels Are Attacking Us," 31 Dec. 2020 The ritual was repeated throughout the two-hour interview; at one point, when Billy was deep into a point and had forgotten to replenish the treat pile, the squirrel knocked over a trinket. Los Angeles Times, "Column: A cancer patient needed critical care. Because of the COVID-19 surge, she died without it," 20 Dec. 2020 Hard-hitting air rifles are tailor-made for squirrel hunting. Joseph Albanese, Field & Stream, "The 10 Best Air Rifles for Hunting Squirrels," 4 Dec. 2020 If a squirrel sits on the perch, the feeder shuts off the flow of seed. Calvin Finch, ExpressNews.com, "Calvin Finch: What’s working to attract birds to your San Antonio winter garden," 1 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In California, cities borrowed more than $3.7 billion to squirrel away at various public pension funds, breaking the old state record of $3.5 billion, set in 1994. New York Times, "To Plug a Pension Gap, This City Rented Its Streets. To Itself.," 16 Feb. 2021 To keep his main suspect from being arrested, Joseph has to squirrel Van Meegeren away in a garret, where the louche fugitive is happy to paint, drink whiskey and entertain his mistress (Olivia Grant). John Anderson, WSJ, "‘The Last Vermeer’ Review: The Forger Who Fooled Göring," 19 Nov. 2020 But the pandemic has provided them an opportunity to squirrel away money. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, "We asked how the pandemic changed your money habits. Here's what you said," 28 Oct. 2020 My 6-year-old son, Anse, squirrel hunts with me most days now, and he’s dubbed the gun Big Blister. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, "The 17 Best Squirrel Guns Ever," 18 Sep. 2020 Perhaps there is something primal about our desire to squirrel away objects, to keep some precious little things on our bodies at all times. Katy Kelleher, Longreads, "The Ugly History of Beautiful Things: Lockets," 10 Aug. 2020 There’s plenty of perfectly edible food squirreled away in the far reaches of my cabinets that has, for whatever reason, gone by the wayside. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, "There's No Better Time to… Use the Oldest Thing In Your Pantry," 24 Mar. 2020 The budget breaks even at a price of $42 a barrel and the finance ministry has squirreled away billions in a rainy-day fund. Grant Smith, Bloomberg.com, "Putin Dumps MBS to Start a War on America’s Shale Oil Industry," 29 Apr. 2020 And for future historians, every tweet, every livestream, every TV and news show of the recent and ongoing Hong Kong democracy movement has been squirreled away by a few dedicated users. David Rutland, Ars Technica, "Digital hoarders: “Our terabytes are put to use for the betterment of mankind”," 12 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for squirrel

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for squirrel

Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Squirrel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squirrel. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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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 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

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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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