squir·​rel·​ly ˈskwər(-ə)-lē How to pronounce squirrelly (audio)
variants or less commonly squirrely
: 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
chiefly US, informal
: 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
: 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
: 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
: 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 In a lean-to-the-bone melody filled with squirrelly synths and loping pedal steels, Lightfoot tells a literary tale of the final voyage of a ship in almost sequential detail while rhyming Gitche Gumee more than a few times. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 2 May 2023 Actor Taron Egerton, who nails the squirrelly energy of the real-life Rogers, met him through Zoom calls during the height of the pandemic. Gene Park, Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2023 Note the squirrelly language. Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2021 Mika Brzezinski offered tips on pinning down squirrelly guests. Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times, 21 Feb. 2023 Novak, who spent years refining the squirrelly ticks of his self-regarding salesman Ryan on nine seasons of The Office, isn't a demonstrably different dude here. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 29 July 2022 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'squirrelly.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1912, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of squirrelly was in 1912

Dictionary Entries Near squirrelly

Cite this Entry

“Squirrelly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squirrelly. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

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