Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A young, newly hatched, or unfledged pigeon.
  • noun A soft, thick cushion, as for a couch.
  • noun A couch.
  • adjective Young and undeveloped; newly hatched or unfledged.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To fall plump; strike heavily; flap; flop. They watched the street, and beheld ladies in … short cloaks with hoods squabbing behind (known as cardinals).
  • To squeeze; knoek; beat.
  • So as to strike with a crash; with a heavy fall; plump.
  • To stuff thickly and catch through with thread at regular intervals, as a cushion.
  • Fat; short and stout; plump; bulky.
  • Short; curt; abrupt.
  • Unfledged, newly hatched, or not yet-having attained the full growth, as a dove or a pigeon.
  • Hence Shy, as from extreme youth; coy.
  • noun A young animal in its earliest period; a young beast or bird before the hair or feathers appear.
  • noun A short, fat, flabby person: also used figuratively.
  • noun A thickly stuffed cushion, especially one for a piece of furniture, as an upholstered chair or sofa, to which it may or may not be attached.
  • noun A sofa in which there is no part of the frame visible, and which is stuffed and caught through with strong thread at regular intervals, but so as to be very soft.
  • noun An ottoman.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) A nestling of a pigeon or other similar bird, esp. when very fat and not fully fledged.
  • noun A person of a short, fat figure.
  • noun A thickly stuffed cushion; especially, one used for the seat of a sofa, couch, or chair; also, a sofa.
  • adjective Fat; thick; plump; bulky.
  • adjective Unfledged; unfeathered.
  • adverb Vulgar With a heavy fall; plump.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To fall plump; to strike at one dash, or with a heavy stroke.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A baby pigeon or dove.
  • noun The meat of a squab (i.e. a young (domestic) pigeon or dove) used as food.
  • noun A baby rook.
  • noun A thick cushion, especially a flat one covering the seat of a chair or sofa.
  • verb obsolete To fall plump; to strike at one dash, or with a heavy stroke.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a soft padded sofa
  • noun flesh of a pigeon suitable for roasting or braising; flesh of a dove (young squab) may be broiled
  • adjective short and fat
  • noun an unfledged pigeon

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Swedish dialectal squabb, fat flesh.]

Examples

  • I do not eat oysters, egg plant, or squab, which is pigeon.

    Golden City

  • I do not eat oysters, egg plant, or squab, which is pigeon.

    Archive 2009-01-01

  • “I must admit, the food was very good, it was called squab, and Ben got very drunk and spilled a drink on me —”

    Nancy Jo Sales on private-school love

  • “I must admit, the food was very good, it was called squab, and Ben got very drunk and spilled a drink on me —”

    Nancy Jo Sales on private-school love

  • Constable MacDonald said the pigeons, called squab when sold as food, were valued between $3 and $10 each.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • I've never been to England but I'm told a delicacy there is squab which is a very young pidgeon.

    On Dear Days Gone By

  • Seeking out the boy he persuaded him to give up the one "squab" whose wings had not yet been clipped, and this the ornithologist carried to the clump and deposited in the ruined nest.

    Highways & Byways in Sussex

  • But I had forgotten -- there was also a chair with a "squab" that apologized inadequately for the defects of its cane seat.

    In the Days of the Comet

  • About 8pm the dinner bell rang, a summons to come and partake of a delicious repast of squab and all the trimmings.

    MY 1916 VISIT TO JACK LONDON

  • At his restaurant, Craigie on Main, he approaches all his ingredients—cabbage and carrots, squab and sweetbreads—with equal care.

    Spiced Pumpkin, Eggplant and Rapini

Comments

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  • Our host announced himself as an officer of the Holy Brotherhood, and his rib was a fat laughing squab of a woman, with outward good-nature, but with an eye to make the most of her commodities.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 5 ch. 1

    September 19, 2008

  • Some kind of carriage seat back?

    "Quarry stuck his head out the window and shouted up to the driver, then pulled it in and relapsed back onto the grimy squabs with a sigh."

    —Diana Gabaldon, Lord John and the Private Matter, 30

    May 7, 2009

  • WordNet 4th definition. I've heard it used like this by New Zealanders.

    May 7, 2009

  • Ah. Didn't even think to check good ol' WeirdNET. I've never heard this usage. Never been to New Zealand either.

    May 7, 2009

  • I haven't either--but I kinda like the music. ;-)

    May 8, 2009

  • I knew about the bird but not about the cushions. As in:

    "Mrs. Potterson nodded. "I had no idea that the Pyegraves were in such want of money. Why, he's the most prosperous draper and upholsterer in the Dell. Every squab upon which you sit was stuffed and sewn in his shop.""

    Under the Harrow by Mark Dunn, p 32

    September 1, 2011