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[chip-muhngk] /ˈtʃɪp mʌŋk/
any of several small, striped, terrestrial squirrels of the genera Tamias, of North America, and Eutamia, of Asia and North America, especially T. striatus, of eastern North America.
Origin of chipmunk
1825-35, Americanism; assimilated variant of earlier chitmunk, apparently < Ojibwa ačitamo·nʔ red squirrel, equivalent to ačit- headfirst, face-down + derivational elements; so called from the squirrel's manner of descending trees Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for chipmunk
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A chipmunk ran across their path, and tall ferns grew higher than their heads on either side of the brook.

  • I think a chipmunk is the happiest, cheerfulest thing I know.

  • Mr. chipmunk always believed in keeping still as long as possible.

    Dooryard Stories Clara Dillingham Pierson
  • On the ground he is more helpless than a chipmunk, because less agile.

  • From a hole in the side of a fallen log the chipmunk peeps warily, comes out quickly, but whisks back again in fancied fright.

    Some Summer Days in Iowa Frederick John Lazell
  • I did ear some talk about it in a pub one night, chipmunk admitted.

    The Rough Road William John Locke
  • Now, however, I determined to cultivate the acquaintance of chipmunk, for there might be other discoveries awaiting me.

    The Spring of the Year Dallas Lore Sharp
  • Olivers here, with his man chipmunk, she remarked, her eyes on the road.

    The Rough Road William John Locke
British Dictionary definitions for chipmunk


any burrowing sciurine rodent of the genera Tamias of E North America and Eutamias of W North America and Asia, typically having black-striped yellowish fur and cheek pouches for storing food
Word Origin
C19: of Algonquian origin; compare Ojibwa atchitamon squirrel, literally: headfirst, referring to its method of descent from trees
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
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Word Origin and History for chipmunk

1829 (also chitmunk, 1832), from Algonquian, probably Ojibwa ajidamoo (in the Ottawa dialect ajidamoonh) "red squirrel," literally "head first," or "one who descends trees headlong" (containing ajid- "upside down"), probably influenced by English chip and mink. Other early names for it included ground squirrel and striped squirrel.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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