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A common raccoon (Procyon lotor).
A raccoon raiding a bird feeder at night.

Alternative forms[edit]


From arocoun (1608), from Powhatan ärähkun, from ärähkuněm (he scratches with his hands).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɹəˈkuːn/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɹæˈkun/, /ɹəˈkun/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːn


raccoon (plural raccoons)

  1. A nocturnal omnivore native to North America, typically with a mixture of gray, brown, and black fur, a mask-like marking around the eyes and a striped tail; Procyon lotor.
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, p. 64:
      Before a fire upon a seat like a bedsted, he sat covered with a great robe, made of Rarowcun skinnes, and all the tayles hanging by.
    • 1634, William Wood, New Englands Prospect:
      The Rackoone is a deepe furred beast, not much unlike a Badger, having a tayle like a Fox, as good meate as a Lambe; there is one of them in the Tower.
    • 2010, Charlie Brooker, "Screen Burn", The Guardian, 3 Apr 2010:
      Thus we're presented with [] a man who has the head of his penis bitten off by a raccoon, then bleeds to death in a forest.
  2. Any mammal of the genus Procyon.
  3. Any mammal of the subfamily Procyoninae, a procyonine.
  4. Any mammal of the family Procyonidae, a procyonid.
  5. (loosely, proscribed) Any mammal superficially resembling a raccoon, such as a raccoon dog.


Derived terms[edit]


northern raccoon range