squirrel

[skwur-uh l, skwuhr- or, esp. British, skwir-uh l]

noun, plural squir·rels, (especially collectively) squir·rel.

any of numerous arboreal, bushy-tailed rodents of the genus Sciurus, of the family Sciuridae.
any of various other members of the family Sciuridae, as the chipmunks, flying squirrels, and woodchucks.
the meat of such an animal.
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.

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.

Nearby words

  1. squiredom,
  2. squireen,
  3. squireling,
  4. squirm,
  5. squirmy,
  6. squirrel away,
  7. squirrel cage,
  8. squirrel corn,
  9. squirrel monkey,
  10. squirrel's-foot fern

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

Related formssquir·rel·ish, squir·rel·like, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for squirrel away

squirrel

noun plural -rels or -rel

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, etcRelated adjective: sciurine
any other rodent of the family Sciuridae, such as a ground squirrel or a marmot
the fur of such an animal
informal a person who hoards things

verb -rels, -relling or -relled or esp US -rels, -reling or -reled

(tr usually foll by away) informal to store for future use; hoard
Derived Formssquirrel-like, adjective

Word Origin for squirrel

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

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

Word Origin and History for squirrel away
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with squirrel away

squirrel away

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]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.