- a nocturnal carnivore, Procyon lotor, having a masklike black stripe across the eyes, a sharp snout, and a bushy, ringed tail, native to North and Central America and introduced elsewhere for its valuable fur.
- the thick, brownish-gray fur of this animal, with gray, black-tipped guard hairs.
- any of various related animals of the genus Procyon, of Central American islands, some now rare.
Origin of raccoon
1600–10, Americanism; < Virginia Algonquian (E spelling) aroughcun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- any omnivorous mammal of the genus Procyon, esp P. lotor (North American raccoon), inhabiting forests of North and Central America and the Caribbean: family Procyonidae, order Carnivora (carnivores). Raccoons have a pointed muzzle, long tail, and greyish-black fur with black bands around the tail and across the face
- the fur of the North American raccoon
C17: from Algonquian ärähkun, from ärähkuněm he scratches with his hands
Word Origin and History for raccoon
also racoon, c.1600, arocoun, from Algonquian (Powhatan) arahkun, from arahkunem "he scratches with the hands." Early forms included Capt. John Smith's raugroughcum. In Norwegian, vaskebjørn, literally "wash-bear."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper