por·​cu·​pine | \ ˈpȯr-kyə-ˌpīn How to pronounce porcupine (audio) \
plural porcupines also porcupine

Definition of porcupine

: 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

Illustration of porcupine

Examples of porcupine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Any wolf has the ability to kill a gentle porcupine. Roger Wicker, WSJ, 4 May 2022 Enamel and industrial, metallic paints, manipulated with a porcupine quill create sharp detail and rich surface textures, including coral, feathers and flowers. Joanne Shurvell, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 On Friday, March 25, the baby cape porcupine entered the world and delighted visitors at the ZSL London Zoo when mom Hettie gave birth in front of guests. Giovana Gelhoren, PEOPLE.com, 21 Apr. 2022 Sipping from an endless succession of wedding libations at some kind of barn in Northern California, her Carlo makes like a porcupine, shooting quills in the form of quips. New York Times, 21 Mar. 2022 He is inspired by Boris, a real porcupine, and was fabricated by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in Burbank. Los Angeles Times, 5 Mar. 2022 According to a release from the Chicago zoo, their 9-year-old porcupine Lucia gave birth to a baby — also known as a porcupette — on March 19. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, 5 Apr. 2022 That is the National Zoo, where earlier this year, the porcupine family added a member through birth. Washington Post, 13 Mar. 2022 Clay is a reclusive rock legend who is persuaded by koala Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) and porcupine Ash (Scarlett Johansson) to come out of retirement and perform onstage one more time. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 27 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of porcupine

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for porcupine

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

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

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Porcupine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/porcupine. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for porcupine


por·​cu·​pine | \ ˈpȯr-kyə-ˌpīn How to pronounce porcupine (audio) \

Kids Definition of porcupine

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

Porcupine geographical name

Definition of Porcupine

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

More from Merriam-Webster on porcupine

Nglish: Translation of porcupine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of porcupine for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about porcupine


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