General English

Cars & Driving


  • verb to fail to rise significantly after pitching; keep low
    Citation ‘With some deliveries squatting and others lifting it was clear that survival would be difficult’ (Paul Fitzpatrick, Guardian 3 August 1983)


  • verb to occupy premises belonging to another person unlawfully and without title or without paying rent

Real Estate

  • noun a piece of property that is occupied by squatters
  • verb to occupy land or buildings without permission of the owner or other rights holder


  • noun an exercise in weightlifting in which the lifter raises a barbell while rising from a crouching position

Origin & History of “squat”

Someone who squats is etymologically ‘forced together’ – and indeed the verb originally meant ‘squash, flatten’ in English (‘This stone shall fall on such men, and squat them all to powder’, John Wyclif, Sermons 1380). Not until the early 15th century did the modern sense (based on the notion of hunching oneself up small and low) emerge. The word was adapted from Old French esquatir, a compound verb formed from the intensive prefix es- and quatir ‘press flat’. this in turn came from vulgar Latin *coactīre ‘press together’, a verb based on Latin coāctus, the past participle of cōgere ‘force together’ (from which English gets cogent (17th c.)). The adjectival use of squat for ‘thickset’, which preserves some of the word’s original connotations of being ‘flattened’, is first recorded in 1630. Swat ‘slap’ (17th c.) originated as a variant of squat.