noun, plural squir·rels, (especially collectively) squir·rel.
verb (used with object), squir·reled, squir·rel·ing or (especially British) squir·relled, squir·rel·ling.
- squirrel away,
- squirrel cage,
- squirrel corn,
- squirrel monkey,
- squirrel's-foot fern
Origin of squirrel
noun plural -rels or -rel
verb -rels, -relling or -relled or esp US -rels, -reling or -reled
Word Origin for squirrel
early 14c., from Anglo-French esquirel, Old French escurel (Modern French écureuil), from Vulgar Latin *scuriolus, diminutive of *scurius "squirrel," variant of Latin sciurus, from Greek skiouros "a squirrel," literally "shadow-tailed," from skia "shadow" (see shine (v.)) + oura "tail." Perhaps the original notion is "that which makes a shade with its tail." The Old English word was acweorna, which survived into Middle English as aquerne.
"to hoard up, store away" (as a squirrel does nuts), 1939, from squirrel (n.). Related: Squirreled; squirreling.
Hide or store, as in She squirreled away her savings in at least four different banks. This expression alludes to the squirrel's habit of hiding nuts and acorns in the ground. [First half of 1900s]