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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
  • All the video shows is a chipmunk turning its head quickly.
  • The weasel population also increased, following the growth of the chipmunk population.
  • Her winningly chipmunk-cheeked smile is doled out sparingly, a privilege to be earned, rather than an icebreaker or an entreaty.
  • He also plays piano and can make weird chipmunk noises.
  • It had raced up his jaw and curved beneath the floor of his mouth, giving him the look of a mutant chipmunk.
  • The voice coming out of the speakers was processed into a chipmunk chirp.
  • That's why you may see a red squirrel or even a chipmunk chase off a much larger gray squirrel.
  • In his burrow a chipmunk stores seeds, nuts and grain for winter rations.
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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