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 awaysquirrel away some money

Examples of squirrel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Terrestrial wildlife specialist Tim Snow says the results are encouraging, though much work remains to help protect the squirrel population. USA TODAY, "Bye-bye to Bei Bei, reverse bank robbery, squirrel survey: News from around our 50 states," 18 Nov. 2019 Azer’s surveillance camera recently caught video of a bobcat with a squirrel in its mouth, possibly feeding it to its offspring. BostonGlobe.com, "A few residents also have reported sightings in recent days but they were not sent officially to the town’s animal control department.," 13 Nov. 2019 Paulk uploaded a video on Facebook after the raid from the apartment with the squirrel. Doha Madani, NBC News, "Alabama man accused of feeding meth to a squirrel arrested," 28 June 2019 Watch the video above to see why the internet has fallen in love with the squirrel’s bold moves. Kelsey Grey, idahostatesman, "This 'thief' was caught shoplifting from Disney's Magic Kingdom on camera," 12 June 2018 RuPaul is expanding his circle of squirrel friends. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, "RuPaul's Celebrity Drag Race," 22 Oct. 2019 The woman’s college professor husband squirrels himself away in his campus office, leaving their young adult daughter to be her mother’s primary caregiver. Theresa Sullivan Barger, courant.com, "When cancer diagnosis causes spouse to retreat, seek support elsewhere, experts say," 26 Sep. 2019 These 4 baby squirrels were found on train tracks and brought to our hospital. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "4 Baby Squirrels Found with Their Tails Braided Together and Vets Believe It's Animal Abuse," 23 Sep. 2019 Also, Doreen hides her conspicuous squirrel tail in the back of her pants, which Erica Henderson uses to her advantage by drawing Squirrel Girl in the most body-positive, bootylicious way possible. Sam Maggs, Marie Claire, "A Feminist Ranking of Female Superheroes," 16 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Fortunes aren’t made by squirreling away pennies in savings accounts. Chris Hughes | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Oxford, Please Don’t Blow Schwarzman’s Millions," 19 June 2019 The firm also offers a savings product that automatically squirrels away funds, but pays no interest. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "How Fintech’s Third Wave Will Change How You Bank," 13 Nov. 2019 But President Roosevelt's eight-year-old son, Archie, supposedly snuck a wee tree upstairs past his dad, squirreling it away in a sewing room closet. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "The White House Christmas Tree Tradition Goes Back Farther Than You Might Think," 19 Sep. 2019 Today's bars lean in on nut butters for texture and flavor, and the BA staff has been known to squirrel away Big Spoon Roasters, ProBars, and Perfect Bars in our desk drawers. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, "That Nut Butter Bar You're Obsessed With Is Easy to Make at Home," 10 Sep. 2019 To gauge eastern grays’ sensitivity to bird conversations, Tarvin and then-undergraduates Marie Lilly and Emma Lucore designed an experiment centered on Oberlin’s squirrel population. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Squirrels Eavesdrop on Birds to Check If Danger Has Passed," 6 Sep. 2019 Alabama police had a warrant to search Limestone County resident Mickey Paulk’s house for guns and drugs, when they were warned of a potential attack squirrel high on meth. Birmingham Magazine, al, "Birmingham magazine’s Best and Worst of Birmingham," 3 Sep. 2019 Keeping a handful of programmers squirreled away on the top floor of the Murray Hill complex was not going to bankrupt the company. Richard Jensen, Ars Technica, "Unix at 50: How the OS that powered smartphones started from failure," 29 Aug. 2019 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

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

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Squirrel.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squirrelling. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for squirrel


How to pronounce squirrel (audio)

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

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