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[ra-koon] /ræˈkun/
noun, plural raccoons (especially collectively) raccoon.
a nocturnal carnivore, Procyon lotor, having a masklike black stripe across the eyes, a sharp snout, and a bushy, ringed tail, native to North and Central America and introduced elsewhere for its valuable fur.
the thick, brownish-gray fur of this animal, with gray, black-tipped guard hairs.
any of various related animals of the genus Procyon, of Central American islands, some now rare.
Origin of raccoon
Virginia Algonquian
1600-10, Americanism; < Virginia Algonquian (E spelling) aroughcun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for raccoon
  • As far as the raccoon with the big nuts, your guess is as good as mine.
  • The sensitive hands of the raccoon help it see what it touches.
  • But the local raccoon that hunts by night and the car that rolls past are distinct.
  • Named for its red fur, the red panda is about the size of a raccoon and sports a long curled tail.
  • The raccoon alighted from the tree and dived under a car.
  • It had fresh seafood, a sophisticated atmosphere and a raccoon peeking out from a ceiling panel.
  • The raccoon and the rat, the skunk and the deer have prospered, although they were not really animals of the plains.
  • He sometimes combines furs: a fox coat might have a raccoon collar.
  • Sometimes known as the raccoon dog, this elusive creature resembles the raccoon in appearance but is related to dogs and foxes.
  • The dragonfly larva becomes food for a fish, which provides a tasty meal for a raccoon.
British Dictionary definitions for raccoon


noun (pl) -coons, -coon
any omnivorous mammal of the genus Procyon, esp P. lotor (North American raccoon), inhabiting forests of North and Central America and the Caribbean: family Procyonidae, order Carnivora (carnivores). Raccoons have a pointed muzzle, long tail, and greyish-black fur with black bands around the tail and across the face
the fur of the North American raccoon
Word Origin
C17: from Algonquian ärähkun, from ärähkuněm he scratches with his hands
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 raccoon

also racoon, c.1600, arocoun, from Algonquian (Powhatan) arahkun, from arahkunem "he scratches with the hands." Early forms included Capt. John Smith's raugroughcum. In Norwegian, vaskebjørn, literally "wash-bear."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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