squir·​rel·​ly | \ ˈskwər(-ə)-lē How to pronounce squirrelly (audio) , ˈskwə-rə- \
variants: or less commonly squirrely

Definition of squirrelly

1 : relating to, resembling, or characteristic of a squirrel Where I live we used to have a real groundhog … moving through the too long grass in search of grubs, nuts, or other squirrelly snacks.— Bill Dunphy
2 chiefly US, informal
a : tending to be unusually active : restless That I was a squirrelly kid whose need to leap from the piano bench, run outside and roll around in the mud would sooner or later kill his chances of doing something meaningful with music.— Andrew Corsello
b : odd, eccentric … a mossbacked old hard-ass (… thirty-five or forty years old), just as squirrelly as hell and literally shivering with paranoia, who hops and whoops around those evergreen forests like some mangy, half-mad freak …— Larry Heinemann Despite a long history of observations, [Don] Yeomans is worried about [comet] Kopff's predictability. "Halley was a very constant, well-behaved comet," he says. "But Kopff is a little squirrelly."— Stephen Cole
c : lacking stability or control : moving erratically A little wind had kicked up, making the faster cars just a bit squirrelly through the chutes.— Robert F. Jones
d : morally dubious or questionable The squirrelly guy who sold Toph that cheap lock for his bike … just before we left Chicago—I wanted to punish that man—he said it was the best lock they had, "invincible, no sweat" he said—and the bike was stolen within the week.— Dave Eggers Your X-Files contract is up at season's end, you're suing your own studio for making squirrelly rerun deals …— Ken Tucker But I'm not buying any tickets yet. There's something a little squirrelly about the whole thing, don't you think?— Stanley Bing

Examples of squirrelly in a Sentence

It was the end of the school year, when all the kids get a little squirrelly.
Recent Examples on the Web Maybe it’s the exhausting smarm, the squirrelly ambition, the hollow theatrics. Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2021 Not even a squirrelly interruption could throw off Olympic snowboarder Daniela Ulbing of Austria. Raisa Bruner, Time, 26 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'squirrelly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of squirrelly

1912, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of squirrelly was in 1912

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Dictionary Entries Near squirrelly

squirrel hawk


squirrel monkey

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Cite this Entry

“Squirrelly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squirrelly. Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of squirrelly

: tending to move around a lot : restless
: very odd, silly, or foolish


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