hedgehog

noun
hedge·​hog | \ ˈhej-ˌhȯg How to pronounce hedgehog (audio) , -ˌhäg \

Definition of hedgehog

1a : any of a subfamily (Erinaceinae) of Eurasian and African nocturnal insectivores that have both hair and spines which they present outwardly by rolling themselves up when threatened
b : any of several spiny mammals (such as a porcupine)
2a : a military defensive obstacle (as of barbed wire)
b : a well-fortified military stronghold

Illustration of hedgehog

Illustration of hedgehog

hedgehog 1a

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Did You Know?

There are 14 species of hedgehogs. All prefer animal food, such as insects, but will eat plant material. There are nine species of spiny hedgehogs. They have short, barbless spines on the back, a round body, small head, pointed face, and little or no tail, and range from 4 in (10 cm) to 17 in (44 cm) long. Spiny hedgehogs are native to Britain, North Africa, and Asia; one species was introduced into New Zealand. There are five species of hairy hedgehog; all are Asian. They have coarse guard hairs, but no spines and are extremely malodorous. The common hairy hedgehog may be 18 in (46 cm) long and have a 12-in (30 cm) tail.

Examples of hedgehog in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When class begins, two teachers put on raspy play-voices and let the puppets, Jo the hedgehog and Joo the squirrel, greet their preschool students — except the desks in front of them are all empty. Derek Gatopoulos And Thanassis Stavrakis, Star Tribune, "AP PHOTOS: Greece puts faith in online schooling," 27 Nov. 2020 The story was that Chuckles X consulted with Phoebe, a hedgehog at the museum, and Phoebe passed the word to Moran for the official announcement. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, "Chuckles X, Connecticut’s official state groundhog, has died - search for Chuckles XI underway," 21 Oct. 2020 The hoglet — which takes its name from its resemblance to a baby hedgehog — is specially designed with elements from a fidget toy to increase focus for those with developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Ariana Taylor, Star Tribune, "This company reinvented the computer mouse, with good reason," 18 Oct. 2020 Dozens of cats were harbored in his son’s room; his daughter’s room served as a refuge for chicks, bunnies and even a hedgehog; a patio became a haven for a flock of sheep. NBC News, "Man shelters 300 dogs from Hurricane Delta in Mexico home," 15 Oct. 2020 Dozens of cats were harbored in his son’s room; his daughter’s room served as a refuge for chicks, bunnies and even a hedgehog; a patio became a haven for a flock of sheep. Luis Andres Henao, USA TODAY, "Man shelters 300 dogs from Hurricane Delta in Mexico, "Tierra de Animales" home," 15 Oct. 2020 Thirty-two people in 17 state have been infected with the Salmonella Typhimurium strain, and 16 of 23 ill people reported contact with a hedgehog, the CDC said. Allen Kim, CNN, "The CDC is investigating multistate salmonella outbreaks tied to pet hedgehogs and bearded dragons," 1 Oct. 2020 The hedgehog is supposedly an alien from a planet called Popinpobopia. Cody Delistraty, WSJ, "The 11 Best Books of Fall," 23 Sep. 2020 The disorder is believed to be caused by an overactive developmental protein known as sonic hedgehog (or SHH), named after the popular video game character. oregonlive, "Oregon kitten born with two faces, named ‘Biscuits and Gravy’," 24 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hedgehog.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hedgehog

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for hedgehog

Time Traveler

The first known use of hedgehog was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Hedgehog.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hedgehog. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for hedgehog

hedgehog

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hedgehog

: a small, brown animal of Europe, Asia, and Africa that has sharp spines on its back and that can roll itself up into a ball

hedgehog

noun
hedge·​hog | \ ˈhej-ˌhȯg How to pronounce hedgehog (audio) , -ˌhäg \

Kids Definition of hedgehog

1 : a mammal of Europe, Asia, and Africa that eats insects, has sharp spines mixed with the hair on its back, and is able to roll itself up into a ball when threatened
2 : porcupine

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More from Merriam-Webster on hedgehog

Nglish: Translation of hedgehog for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hedgehog for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hedgehog

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