- 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.
- 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
- 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
- (tr usually foll by away) informal to store for future use; hoard
Word Origin and History for squirreling
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.