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A large burrowing rodent (Marmota monax) of northern and eastern North America, having a short-legged, heavyset body and grizzled brownish fur. Also called groundhog; also called regionally whistle pig.
[By folk etymology, probably of New England Algonquian origin.]
Word History: The woodchuck goes by several names in the United States. One is groundhog, the name under which legends about the animal's emergence from the ground on Groundhog Day have accrued. The word groundhog probably makes reference to the animal's excellent burrowing abilities. In the Appalachian Mountains, the woodchuck is known as a whistle pig, in reference to the shrill whistle it makes when disturbed. The word woodchuck is probably a folk etymology of a word in an Algonquian language of New England akin to the Narragansett word for the animal, ockqutchaun. English-speaking settlers in North America probably heard the Algonquian term and reinterpreted the first part of it as wood, which seemed to make sense in the name of an animal that often lives on the edges of woodland and in open wooded areas.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Animals) a North American marmot, Marmota monax, having coarse reddish-brown fur. Also called: groundhog
[C17: by folk etymology from Cree otcheck fisher, marten]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
a stocky North American burrowing rodent, Marmota monax, that hibernates in the winter. Also called groundhog.
[1665–75, Amer.; presumably a reshaping by folk etym. of a word in a Southern New England Algonquian language]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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|Noun||1.||woodchuck - reddish brown North American marmot|
marmot - stocky coarse-furred burrowing rodent with a short bushy tail found throughout the northern hemisphere; hibernates in winter
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