Definition of squirrel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈskwɪr(ə)l/


1An agile tree-dwelling rodent with a bushy tail, typically feeding on nuts and seeds.
  • Family Sciuridae: several genera, in particular Sciurus, and numerous species.
Example sentences
  • Tree-dwelling squirrels have lovely bushy tails, and we realised that the little ones, from the look of them, were also from one such splendid family line.
  • Small rodents, such as hamsters, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, and rabbits, do not typically carry rabies.
  • The ability of squirrels to harvest seed crops before they fall to the ground may make them less sensitive to species interactions on the forest floor.
1.1A related rodent of the squirrel family. See ground squirrel, flying squirrel.
Example sentences
  • Alpine marmots are large ground-dwelling squirrels living in mountain open meadows.
  • As in ground-dwelling squirrels, factors other than social complexity may determine complexity of communication.
  • Numerous species of ground-dwelling squirrels have been described from the Blancan of the Great Plains.
1.2 [mass noun] The fur of the squirrel.
Example sentences
  • This is the trade name for brushes made of squirrel, goat, pony, bear, sheep or a blend of the above.
  • Collars on keys style flies can be made of squirrel, marabou, cross cut bunny and hackle and combo bunny/hackle that is wrapped around the hook and then swept back.

verb (squirrels, squirrelling, squirrelled; US squirrels, squirreling, squirreled)

1 [with object] (squirrel something away) Hide money or something of value in a safe place: the money was squirrelled away in foreign bank accounts
More example sentences
  • But why not consider doing what many of us do, and self insure by squirreling the money you save into a savings account?
  • A new analysis of the scheme from the Revenue Commissioners shows the percentage of people on lower incomes squirrelling away money has increased compared with those on middle and higher incomes.
  • I wouldn't like to die having squirrelled money away all my life without having enjoyed it.
save, put aside, put by, lay by, set aside, lay aside, put to one side, reserve, keep in reserve, preserve, deposit, keep, store, stockpile, accumulate, collect, stock up with/on, heap up, hoard, stow away, cache, garner
informal salt away, stash away
2 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move in an inquisitive and restless manner: they were squirrelling around in the woods in search of something
More example sentences
  • And there's Lisa Wesley and Andrew Blackwood squirrelling away in the greenhouse creating a white-washed model landscape complete with animals, flyovers, factories and numbered points of interest.
  • We should cherish these glimpses of her as it won't be long before she goes to ground again, squirrelling away in her Manhattan apartment or the Virginia bolt-hole she shares with two pugs and a Boston terrier.
  • I woke up early and squirreled around the kitchen - glazing ham, making salads, chopping this and that, preparing for the evening.


Middle English: shortening of Old French esquireul, from a diminutive of Latin sciurus, from Greek skiouros, from skia 'shade' + oura 'tail'. Current verb senses date from the early 20th century.

  • A squirrel is literally a ‘shadow-tail’, an appropriate description if you picture the animal holding its long bushy tail over its back like a sunshade. The Greeks called it skiouros, based on skia ‘a shadow’ and oura ‘a tail’, and the English name evolved from this.

Words that rhyme with squirrel

Tyrol, Wirral

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: squir|rel

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