Student Dictionary

6 entries found for squirrel.
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Main Entry: 1squir·rel
Pronunciation: primarystressskwschwar(-schwa)l, primarystressskwschwa-rschwal
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural squirrels also squirrel
Etymology: Middle English squirel "squirrel," from early French esquirel (same meaning), derived from Latin sciurus (same meaning), from Greek skiouros "squirrel," from skia "shadow" and oura "tail"
1 : any of various small or medium-sized rodents; especially : one with a long bushy tail and strong hind legs used especially for leaping from tree branch to tree branch
2 : the fur of a squirrel
Word History When a squirrel sits up to eat or to look around, it often raises its bushy tail up against its back and over its head as if to shade itself. The ancient Greeks noticed this habit, and they called the animal skiouros. This word was made up of skia, meaning "shadow," and oura, "tail." The Romans turned this into the Latin word sciurus, which made its way into early French as esquirel. English squirrel was borrowed from the French.
[squirrel illustration]

Pronunciation Symbols