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porcupine

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noun por·cu·pine \ˈpȯr-kyə-ˌpīn\

Simple Definition of porcupine

  • : a small animal that has very stiff, sharp parts (called quills) all over its body

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of porcupine

plural

porcupines

also

porcupine

  1. :  any of various relatively large slow-moving chiefly herbivorous rodents having sharp erectile spines mingled with the hair and constituting an Old World terrestrial family (Hystricidae) and a New World chiefly arboreal family (Erethizontidae)

Illustration of porcupine

Origin and Etymology of porcupine

Middle English porke despyne, from Middle French porc espin, from Old Italian porcospino, from Latin porcus pig + spina spine, prickle


First Known Use: 15th century


Porcupine

geographical name por·cu·pine

Definition of Porcupine

  1. river 448 miles (721 kilometers) in N Yukon Territory & NE Alaska flowing N & W into the Yukon




PORCUPINE Defined for Kids

porcupine

play
noun por·cu·pine \ˈpȯr-kyə-ˌpīn\

Definition of porcupine for Students

  1. :  a gnawing slow-moving animal that is a large rodent and has stiff sharp quills among its hairs



History for porcupine

The porcupine is certainly not a source of pork, but the word pork and the porc- in the word porcupine both come ultimately from Latin porcus, “pig, hog.” Porcupine was modified from a compound word in Romance languages such as medieval French porc espin, literally, “spiny pig.” (The espin part comes from Latin spina, “thorn, spine.”)



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