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

  • n. A young, newly hatched, or unfledged pigeon.
  • n. A soft, thick cushion, as for a couch.
  • n. A couch.
  • adj. Young and undeveloped; newly hatched or unfledged: a squab chick.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • n. A young animal in its earliest period; a young beast or bird before the hair or feathers appear.
  • n. A short, fat, flabby person: also used figuratively.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. An ottoman.
  • To stuff thickly and catch through with thread at regular intervals, as a cushion.

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

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


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

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



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  • 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

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

    May 8, 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

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

    May 7, 2009

  • 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

  • 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