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

Turtles, river otters, manatees, squirrels, snakes, snails and crayfish are all members of the Ichetucknee Springs ecosystem. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, "Ichetucknee Springs provides visitors a 3-hour natural lazy river tube run," 13 Aug. 2019 Both animals are pretty large for squirrels, weighing in between 3 and 4 pounds. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "New Species of Giant Flying Squirrel Discovered in China," 22 July 2019 Someone even made a Twitter account for the squirrel after it was rescued during a meth bust. al.com, "Meth-gator’s legacy could be help for children in need," 21 July 2019 The categories of hunt available through the TPWDD Lottery system basically remain the same as in the past : General (for deer and hog); Archery (for deer and hog); Muzzleloader (for deer and hog); and Upland (for squirrel and rabbit). David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Trinity River Refuge hunt program has new changes," 12 July 2019 But squirrels are also a vital player in their ecosystems. Kaitlyn Schwalje, National Geographic, "How many squirrels live in NYC’s Central Park? We finally have the answer.," 20 June 2019 As to the tip the squirrel was fed drugs, police could not confirm. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, "Alabama man denies pet is 'methed-out' attack squirrel," 19 June 2019 Tucker subdues the man with a rock, saving his bullets for squirrels. New York Times, "A Novel of Kentucky Noir, So Humane It’s Bathed in Light," 23 May 2018 Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once and a while. Trevor Baptiste, SI.com, "Trevor Baptiste Recaps the PLL Season So Far and His Triumphant Return to Denver," 9 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If anything, the amount of electricity that needs to be squirreled away requires the technology to be cheap. Akshat Rathi, Quartz, "SoftBank’s first bet in energy storage is a startup that stacks concrete blocks," 14 Aug. 2019 The elimination of transaction costs has been especially attractive to those investors who squirrel away small amounts of money with each paycheck. Asjylyn Loder, WSJ, "Charles Schwab, Fidelity Escalate Brokerage Price War," 12 Feb. 2019 Sometimes the children have been able to squirrel away money or hang on to a few scraps of paper with family members’ names and contact information. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "'They have a right to be children': How border crisis' young victims find peace in Indiana," 8 July 2019 But while squirreling away the money, university officials also requested and received several state funding increases, and repeatedly raised tuition during the years of the audit. Teresa Watanabe, latimes.com, "That mysterious $1.5 billion found in an audit? Cal State says it’s ‘nothing nefarious’," 21 June 2019 One detail that has largely escaped attention is a cache of lunar soil samples that was quietly squirreled away half a century ago. David Shribman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column One: 50 years after Apollo 11, the moon’s allure still resonates," 11 July 2019 Many travelers who squirrel away travel rewards are saving for an oceanfront vacation, paid for with points instead of cash. Washington Post, "4 beach vacations that maximize your points and miles," 13 June 2019 Yet estate sales like Mr. Ebsworth’s tend to fare better in good markets and bad because the material has presumably been squirreled away for years in the collection of an owner who adds prestige to the works’ histories. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "$92 Million Edward Hopper Highlights Christie’s Auction," 13 Nov. 2018 Seattle plans to create a digital system, for example, where residents can contribute their democracy vouchers electronically rather than squirreling away four pieces of paper for months on end. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "Seattle’s radical plan to fight big money in politics," 5 Nov. 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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Statistics for squirrel

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for squirrel

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with squirrel

Spanish Central: Translation of squirrel

Nglish: Translation of squirrel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of squirrel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about squirrel

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).


to make a temporary encampment

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