woodchuck definition by Webster's New World
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
any of several marmots of North America; esp., the common hibernating groundhog (Marmota monax) with coarse, red-brown fur
Origin: altered by folk etymology ; from a southern New England Algonquian name: compare uncertain or unknown; perhaps Narragansett ockqutchaun
woodchuck definition by American Heritage Dictionary
A common burrowing rodent (Marmota monax) of northern and eastern North America, having a short-legged, heavy-set body and grizzled brownish fur. Also called groundhog; also called regionally whistle pig.
Origin: By folk etymology, probably of New England Algonquian origin.Regional Note: The woodchuck goes by several names in the United States. The most famous of these is groundhog, under which name all the legends about the animal's hibernation have accrued. In the Appalachian Mountains the woodchuck is known as a whistle pig. The word woodchuck is probably a folk etymology of a New England Algonquian word—that is, English-speaking settlers “translated” the Indian word into a compound of two words that made sense to them in light of the animal's habitat.