Definition of squat in English:



  • 1[no object] Crouch or sit with one's knees bent and one's heels close to or touching one's buttocks or the back of one's thighs.

    ‘I squatted down in front of him’
    • ‘This medical malaise incidentally is most suffered by wicket-keepers who have to squat hundreds of times a day during a match.’
    • ‘‘Well, lets go,’ I said turning around and squatting a little so she could hop on my back.’
    • ‘He squatted outside Kakau's room, watching him sleep.’
    • ‘Juana finishes cooking his breakfast and he squats by the fire to eat it.’
    • ‘Houses squatted beneath thick blankets of fresh snow and a horse-drawn sleigh clopped past, bells jingling.’
    • ‘I squat on my heels, one hand on the wire door.’
    • ‘Daren sat beside her, shivering, and Martin squatted in front of her.’
    • ‘After 35 years of plumbing and heating work, I was having trouble bending my knees and squatting under sinks.’
    • ‘Bligh closed his eyes in fear as one of them squatted next to him.’
    • ‘I looked out the window and saw a furry brown monkey squatting on the roof of a nearby building.’
    • ‘He squatted down so he could lift her up into his arms.’
    • ‘Feeling threatened she scrabbled backward when the man squatted down in front of her.’
    • ‘I squatted down beside him and offered him water.’
    • ‘She was squatting by the fire wrapped in scarlet cloth, her shoulders draped in a soiled blanket.’
    • ‘Buffy's leather pants creaked as she squatted down next to Angel.’
    • ‘The older boy squatted down on his heels and waited.’
    • ‘Turning around to face the child, he squatted down to her level.’
    • ‘She squatted next to the reporter, and picked up a shard of glass.’
    • ‘His friends were shopping inside and he was tired, so he squatted on the ground.’
    • ‘He moved over to me and squatted down on his haunches so he could look at me eye to eye.’
    sit on one's haunches, sit on one's heels, sit, bend down, bob down, duck down, hunch, cower, cringe
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Weightlifting [with object]Crouch down with one's knees bent and rise again while holding (a specified weight) across one's shoulders.
      ‘he can squat 850 pounds’
      • ‘Be certain to warm up before doing squats, deadlifts and military presses.’
      • ‘I can now squat more than 400 pounds.’
      • ‘You just squatted your heaviest-ever weight.’
      • ‘If you can usually squat 400 pounds, don't expect to move more than 300 during this routine.’
      • ‘However, I was up to 165 lb on the squats, so that's pretty awesome.’
      • ‘"To start, I could hardly squat 25 pounds, " admits Mary.’
      • ‘Below are the equations you can use to predict how much weight you can squat for 10 reps.’
  • 2[no object] Unlawfully occupy an uninhabited building or settle on a piece of land.

    ‘eight families are squatting in the house’
    • ‘I bloody well hope that he knows these people are squatting on his land.’
    • ‘However, bands were increasingly occupying his time when he moved back to squat in west London.’
    • ‘The agency has also agreed to rehabilitate ruined public buildings where nearly 800 families are squatting.’
    • ‘Judging by the burnt blankets that the firemen have left beside the building, someone was squatting in there.’
    • ‘Five miles north, Nokuthula Dube, 22, her two daughters and two orphaned relatives are squatting in an unfinished two-room house of cinder blocks.’
    • ‘However, many return, and many illegal immigrants, both children and adults, are squatting in neglected or unfinished buildings in and around the city.’
    • ‘Council housing lists were long and slow-moving, and some desperate families squatted in disused Army huts in the hope of qualifying for a council house sooner.’
    • ‘We have written a major proposal to rehabilitate the house in which we are illegally squatting.’
    • ‘Studio Sputnik started off when we squatted in an old attic of a building while we were still students.’
    • ‘Trish and Peter have been living in London for a few years where Trish runs a school and Pete heads up a team of blokes nailing up buildings to stop no hopers squatting.’
    • ‘She said she told the council her reasons for moving and swapped with the person who was living in the house in which she is now squatting.’
    • ‘A member of York's alternative community, she was staying in the Bootham house after squatting at the White Swan Hotel in Piccadilly.’
    • ‘In the 1990s, it helped slum residents in Bombay to claim the land they were squatting on and turn it into a proper residential estate with running water and electricity.’
    • ‘So Kerry and Michael took the only option left to them - squatting in an empty house.’
    • ‘We found a place in Coalcliff, just past Stanwell Park, a derelict house to squat in.’
    • ‘Instead, he and his wife squatted in an abandoned opera house that had been used by artists preparing work for the exposition.’
    • ‘The group's main political activity was squatting in unoccupied houses, which they subsequently defended in street battles with police.’
    • ‘Mrs Kapijimpanga, however, cautioned the residents against squatting on land that has been unlawfully acquired.’
    • ‘Two families have squatted in a shell-scarred mansion for the duration of the fighting.’
    • ‘As the military dictatorship began to lose power in 1981, families squatted on land in Solano and built barrios.’
    1. 2.1[with object]Unlawfully occupy (an uninhabited building)
      ‘Clare, Briony, and the others had squatted the old council house’
      • ‘The trauma of resisting developers had seen him end up in a geriatric hospital and his friends had quickly moved in to squat the house.’
      • ‘I'd like to give big thanks and love to Mike for allowing us to squat his luxury pad for the week.’
      • ‘The opportunity came up once to squat a flat I once rented.’
      • ‘Prior to the Oct. 26 march, OCAP released a statement giving notice of the buildings they intended to squat.’
      • ‘When searching for a building to squat, OCAP looks for property that will serve politically as well as functionally.’
      • ‘But the group made its biggest splash by breaking into an empty shop and squatting it as a ‘social centre’.’
      • ‘I just spent the weekend in a terribly cute little shack which has been squatted by kids in Sydney.’
      • ‘The house next door has been squatted by a nice bunch of young punks with seemingly endless supplies of dope.’
    2. 2.2Australian, NZ historical [no object]Occupy a tract of Crown land in order to graze cattle or sheep.
      ‘many people moved further out and squatted on the land’
      • ‘Those who had eked out a marginal existence by squatting on the commons were evicted.’
      • ‘In the bush the first owner-builders also operated outside the law as they squatted on Crown land.’
      • ‘The great expanse of unoccupied land available for squatting throughout southeastern Australia implied that the sheep could be left to wander.’
      • ‘The 1841 census shows the Connors family squatting at Queuck.’
      • ‘John McMillan, who is believed to have named the creek in the area Scotchmans Creek, squatted and grazed cattle.’


  • Short and thickset; disproportionately broad or wide.

    ‘he was muscular and squat’
    ‘a squat grey house’
    • ‘The fruit, as you say, is black, very knobbly and it's a bit like a sort of squat fig with a pointy bit at the end and very, very hard, almost stone-like.’
    • ‘The peninsula's westernmost point is barren Punta Campanella, a familiar site from Capri, with its squat Anjou watchtower.’
    • ‘Close to where I had been sitting the light picked out a squat toad about the size of a small teapot.’
    • ‘He is a short, squat man who looks as if, were we to flick him over, he would roll right back up again.’
    • ‘The city of Taos lies on the edge of the high desert in the Carson National Forest, amid squat juniper trees, prickly scrub grasses and towering evergreens.’
    • ‘Her squat, stone house is without electricity or running water.’
    • ‘It was a low, squat building, with turf for walls and a thatched roof that sloped nearly to the ground.’
    • ‘Built in 1905, the existing library is a squat two-storey structure occupying a corner site.’
    • ‘Instead, the headquarters are situated in a squat, brick building which seems rather unglamorous for the world of radio.’
    • ‘The face is characteristically square or broad with a short neck, often giving a squat appearance.’
    • ‘The main bar and dining area is done up in blonde wood and clean minimalist lines, with rows of high backed wooden chairs and squat stools lining a row of narrow bucket tables along one wall.’
    • ‘The bar here is really just a restaurant waiting area and the squat stools aren't exactly relaxing, but with few diners at this early hour, we're allowed to sit at a table.’
    • ‘Tyler came bearing a tray of bootleg whiskey and gin and poured them drinks in squat glass tumblers stained with unwashed fingerprints.’
    • ‘I look at the ugly, squat houses and try to imagine being locked in them (along with my entire family) for months on end.’
    • ‘The squat red and white brick fortress has had a chequered history and was, during one era, the home of a countess whose repressive husband, the Count of Gomera, was murdered by the locals.’
    • ‘Instead, she headed for the Shell House, an ugly, squat building.’
    • ‘Paved footpaths and squat palm trees, yet to mature, line the main road.’
    • ‘A squat Mexican gent came in with a squat Mexican lady.’
    • ‘Night fell and the children made camp in a small alley between two large, squat buildings.’
    • ‘He has good strength, and his squat build allows him to hold the point of attack.’
    stocky, dumpy, stubby, stumpy, short, thickset, heavily built, sturdy, sturdily built, heavyset, chunky, solid
    low, stumpy, short, small, stocky, stunted
    View synonyms


  • 1[in singular] A squatting position.

    • ‘Lower into a squat once again before jumping back to the start.’
    • ‘She fell back into a squat from the kneeling position he had raised her to.’
    • ‘Catch the ball, drop into a squat, then spring up, tossing your partner the ball.’
    • ‘Sometimes an episiotomy can be avoided simply by choosing a different position for the delivery, for example, kneeling, on all fours, or a supported squat.’
    • ‘It feels like standing up from a squat while wearing a big, heavy hiking backpack.’
    • ‘From this starting position, sit down into a squat.’
    • ‘She and eight other women were stripped, searched and then forced to do knee squats while naked.’
    • ‘First lower your center of gravity so that you're in a slight squat with your feet almost together.’
    1. 1.1Weightlifting An exercise in which a person squats down and rises again while holding a barbell across one's shoulders.
      • ‘If you want to be a powerlifter, then there are specific training regimens you can follow to increase your poundage for your bench, squat and deadlift.’
      • ‘Upon reaching the down position of a half squat, press the bar overhead without extending your legs.’
      • ‘Keep the dumbbell centered between your knees as you descend into a deep squat, keeping your head up and low back slightly arched.’
      • ‘I now move to what I consider the king of all exercises: barbell squats.’
      • ‘Strong and flexible calves play an important stabilizing role in exercises like the squat, the deadlift and the clean.’
    2. 1.2(in gymnastics) an exercise involving a squatting movement or action.
      • ‘The squat is one of the best exercises to develop and define the front of the thigh, glute and hamstring muscles.’
      • ‘The squat - if performed correctly - is a tremendous exercise, and virtually everyone can benefit from doing it.’
      • ‘What better way to ‘ease’ back into gym life than with squats and lunges.’
      • ‘So I've decided to compromise, cutting out the carbs at night and doing squats in the living-room.’
      • ‘Try squats and lunges if you are at home or leg extensions and lying leg curls if you're a member of a gym.’
  • 2A building occupied by people living in it without the legal right to do so.

    ‘a basement room in a North London squat’
    • ‘They found the partially clothed body of the man after entering the building, sometimes used as a squat by heroin addicts and the homeless, on Coke Lane off Arran Quay.’
    • ‘Those that could not afford to pay for hotels, hostels, or other forms of housing either camped in nearby parks or set up squats around the city in abandoned buildings.’
    • ‘Many are of ‘no fixed abode’, either living in squats or at established protest camps at airports or proposed roads.’
    • ‘Because the building is frequently used as a squat by the homeless, it was initially feared people may have been trapped inside.’
    • ‘We didn't have much money so we lived in a squat with four other people.’
    • ‘They got used to us living in squats and living for free.’
    • ‘Twenty-two years ago, I moved into a squat in the East Village.’
    • ‘The three of us had been living in the squat together for a week.’
    • ‘Italian police swept Genoa for arms and raided anarchist squats yesterday as three new bomb scares heightened security fears in the Italian city.’
    • ‘He slept rough for a while then moved into a squat.’
    • ‘We lived in squats and abandoned buildings, didn't really go to school, travelled, hitch-hiked.’
    • ‘The Victorian building had been divided into four flats and, together with the neighbouring house, was being used as squats.’
    • ‘A squat also gives people a chance at trying out sustainable living.’
    • ‘Homes Not Jails is an organization that opens squats for homeless people and assists in legal and moral support.’
    • ‘For the next year he was in and out of special units for child offenders before running away to live with a group of street children in parks, squats and abandoned houses in rundown areas of Lisbon.’
    • ‘With the help of a neighbour, Jackson eventually escaped to London but instead of returning home to her mother, she drifted in and out of squats and slept rough for a while.’
    • ‘Simone had left home and was living in squats in Clayton before she was found dead in November 1999.’
    • ‘The relationship had deteriorated and she had become depressed, ending up living in squats in Bristol.’
    • ‘The court heard Bryan had been living in a squat with no heating and no electricity and was desperate to get help for her drug addiction.’
    • ‘I spent years in the lurid squats and dingy bed-sitters of Bristol, then the butter-yellow, peeling Georgian terraces of Brighton.’
    1. 2.1An unlawful occupation of an uninhabited building.
      ‘this squat cost the ratepayer £46,000’
      • ‘But talk of large, illegal squats by visiting protesters is already beginning, with parks, streets, riverbanks and even an abandoned hospital as potential targets.’
      • ‘Clarke declined to reveal where the squat will take place.’
      • ‘144 Piccadilly next door was the site of a famous squat in the troubled summer of 1969.’
      • ‘Bourque took his time with the squatters, and a week after the squat, following negotiations, he got the squatters to move into another building on Rachel E.’
      • ‘If the squat is successful, the occupied building will become a self-managed social housing and community centre.’
  • 3North American informal

    ‘I didn't know squat about writing plays’
    short for diddly-squat
    • ‘You coach doesn't know squat so don't take advice from him.’
    • ‘If he can't be seen by the public, his ability doesn't mean squat.’
    • ‘Why hire a " swim specialist " who doesn't know squat about triathlon?’


Middle English (in the sense ‘thrust down with force’): from Old French esquatir flatten, based on Latin coactus, past participle of cogere compel (see cogent). The current sense of the adjective dates from the mid 17th century.