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[skwob] /skwɒb/
noun, plural squabs, (especially collectively for 1) squab.
a nestling pigeon, marketed when fully grown but still unfledged.
a short, stout person.
a thickly stuffed, soft cushion.
short and thick or broad.
(of a bird) unfledged or newly hatched.
Origin of squab
Swedish dialect
1630-40; probably < Scandinavian; compare Swedish dialect skvabb loose, fat flesh, skvabba fat woman, Norwegian skvabb soft wet mass Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for squab
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Season with salt and pepper, reduce one-half by boiling, and pour over the squab.

  • At the very gate he met a gaunt figure riding in on a squab pony.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • He had neither vice nor virtue, but was merely a squab in a shady corner.

    The Sea and the Jungle H. M. Tomlinson
  • Galantine of chicken, squab, etc., may be prepared in the same manner.

  • Near large cities where the demand for squabs is good, squab growing on a large scale is sometimes successful.

    Our Domestic Birds John H. Robinson
  • "All squab—just go to fly—take him ebbery one in nest," answered the Indian.

    The Chainbearer J. Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for squab


noun (pl) squabs, squab
a young unfledged bird, esp a pigeon
a short fat person
  1. a well-stuffed bolster or cushion
  2. a sofa
(of birds) recently hatched and still unfledged
short and fat
Derived Forms
squabby, adjective
Word Origin
C17: probably of Germanic origin; compare Swedish dialect sqvabb flabby skin, sqvabba fat woman, German Quabbe soft mass, Norwegian kvabb mud
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 squab

1680s, "very young bird," earlier (1630s) "unformed, lumpish person" and used at various times for any sort of flabby mass from sea slugs to sofa cushions; probably from a Scandinavian word (cf. dialectal Swedish skvabb "loose or fat flesh," skvabba "fat woman"), from Proto-Germanic *(s)kwab- (cf. Old Prussian gawabo "toad," Old Church Slavonic zaba "frog").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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