or squir·rel·ly

[ skwur-uh-lee, skwuhr-or, especially British, skwir- ]


, Slang.
  1. eccentric; flighty.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of squirrely1

First recorded in 1930–35; squirrel + -y 1

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Example Sentences

Yet it took a 13-hour filibuster by the libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to get a simple—and still squirrely!

"Tell you why," said Joey Mills, watching Ben with squirrely courage and making sure no one else could hear.


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More About Squirrely

What does squirrely mean?

Squirrely is a slang term meaning eccentric, flighty, or slightly odd, as in There was something squirrely about the way the suspect gave his alibi.

Squirrely is used very informally and is often used to describe several different types of behavior.

Have you ever seen a squirrel dash back and forth across the road, not actually getting to either side? It might look to you like they can’t decide which side of the road they want to be on. You could describe this behavior as a bit erratic or unpredictable. And when you see a person behave like this, you might call their behavior squirrely.

Squirrely can be used to describe actions that are vaguely odd or strange. You might not be able to say precisely what was odd about someone’s behavior, but your instinct tells you that it’s not quite right. It’s a little suspicious. That’s squirrely.

Squirrely can also be spelled squirrelly.

Example: This squirrely kid kept asking me weird questions and I didn’t know what to do.

Where does squirrely come from?

The first records of squirrely come from around the 1930s. It combines the term squirrel and the suffix -y, which makes adjectives meaning “characterized by or inclined to.”

In its most general sense, squirrely describes someone or something as squirrel-like. For example, squirrels are known for moving around and fleeing using erratic movements, especially when they’re approached by humans. When you see someone acting like that, you might call those actions squirrely, jumpy, or uneasy. Sometimes the term can be used to describe something as wavering or vague, to indicate uncertainty.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to squirrely?

  • squirrelly (alternative spelling)

What are some synonyms for squirrely?

What are some words that share a root or word element with squirrely

What are some words that often get used in discussing squirrely?

How is squirrely used in real life?

Because it’s slang, squirrely is almost always used informally. It’s most often used to describe people and their behaviors.



Try using squirrely!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for squirrely?

A. jumpy
C. definitive
D. f

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