porcupine

noun
por·cu·pine | \ˈpȯr-kyə-ˌpīn \
plural porcupines also porcupine

Definition of porcupine 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: 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)

Porcupine

geographical name

Definition of Porcupine (Entry 2 of 2)

river 448 miles (721 kilometers) long in northern Yukon and northeastern Alaska flowing north and west into the Yukon River

Illustration of porcupine

Illustration of porcupine

Noun

In the meaning defined above

Examples of porcupine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Oil exploration in the ANWR — a vast wilderness in Northwest Alaska whose coastal plain is home to polar bears in winter and porcupine caribou and hundreds of migratory bird species in summer — has been the focus of debate for four decades. Anchorage Daily News, "Companies’ first step in drilling for oil in ANWR draws scathing federal response," 31 May 2018 In addition to fruit bats, other animals that have been known to become infected with the virus are chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Ebola 101: Answers to your questions about causes, symptoms, transmission and treatments," 25 May 2018 Antelope and porcupines also can spread Ebola when slaughtered. NBC News, "What is Ebola? The new outbreak in Congo explained," 18 May 2018 Experienced dog handlers work one-on-one with each dog owner and their dog to train the dog to avoid the sight, smell and sound of rattlesnakes, skunks and porcupines. Michelle Jenkins, idahostatesman, "Boise Bike Week celebrates cycling in all its forms | Idaho Statesman," 7 May 2018 Though Moore seems mildly mortified at her beauty choices, her fans certainly remember the time that this porcupine–meets–pop-star look was all the rage. Melissa Minton, Allure, "Mandy Moore Had the Most '90s Hairstyle Ever," 3 May 2018 These tend to be named after animals: snails, porcupines, she-wolves. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "The Palio di Siena: A Survivor’s Tale," 16 Apr. 2018 Experienced dog handlers work one-on-one with each dog owner and their dog to train the dog to avoid the sight, smell and sound of rattlesnakes, skunks and porcupines. Michelle Jenkins, idahostatesman, "Boise Bike Week celebrates cycling in all its forms | Idaho Statesman," 7 May 2018 Experienced dog handlers work one-on-one with each dog owner and their dog to train the dog to avoid the sight, smell and sound of rattlesnakes, skunks and porcupines. idahostatesman, "Southern Idaho geology talks planned the next few weeks | Idaho Statesman," 25 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'porcupine.' 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 porcupine

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for porcupine

Noun

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

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Time Traveler for porcupine

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

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More Definitions for porcupine

porcupine

noun

English Language Learners Definition of porcupine

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

porcupine

noun
por·cu·pine | \ˈpȯr-kyə-ˌpīn \

Kids Definition of porcupine

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

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