[ skwur-uhl, skwuhr- or, especially British, skwir-uhl ]
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noun,plural squir·rels, (especially collectively) squir·rel.
  1. any of numerous arboreal, bushy-tailed rodents of the genus Sciurus, of the family Sciuridae.

  2. any of various other members of the family Sciuridae, as the chipmunks, flying squirrels, and woodchucks.

  1. the meat of such an animal.

  2. the pelt or fur of such an animal: a coat trimmed with squirrel.

verb (used with object),squir·reled, squir·rel·ing or (especially British) squir·relled, squir·rel·ling.
  1. to store or hide (money, valuables, etc.), usually for the future (often followed by away): I've squirreled away a few dollars for an emergency.

Origin of squirrel

1325–75; Middle English squirel<Anglo-French escuirel (Old French escuireul) ≪ Vulgar Latin *scūrellus,*scūriolus, representing Latin sciurus (<Greek skíouros literally, shadow-tailed (ski(á) shadow + -ouros, adj. derivative of ourá tail); apparently so called because the tail was large enough to provide shade for the rest of the animal) with diminutive suffixes -ellus, -olus

Other words from squirrel

  • squir·rel·ish, squir·rel·like, adjective

Words Nearby squirrel

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use squirrel in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for squirrel


/ (ˈskwɪrəl, US ˈskwɜːrəl, ˈskwʌr-) /

nounplural -rels or -rel
  1. any arboreal sciurine rodent of the genus Sciurus, such as S. vulgaris (red squirrel) or S. carolinensis (grey squirrel), having a bushy tail and feeding on nuts, seeds, etc: Related adjective: sciurine

  2. any other rodent of the family Sciuridae, such as a ground squirrel or a marmot

  1. the fur of such an animal

  2. informal a person who hoards things

verb-rels, -relling or -relled or esp US -rels, -reling or -reled
  1. (tr usually foll by away) informal to store for future use; hoard

Origin of squirrel

C14: from Old French esquireul, from Late Latin sciūrus, from Greek skiouros, from skia shadow + oura tail

Derived forms of squirrel

  • squirrel-like, adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012