porcupine

noun por·cu·pine \ ˈpȯr-kyə-ˌpīn \

Definition of porcupine

plural porcupines also 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)

Recent Examples of porcupine from the Web

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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


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

PORCUPINE Defined for English Language Learners

porcupine

noun

Definition of porcupine for English Language Learners

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


PORCUPINE Defined for Kids

porcupine

noun por·cu·pine \ ˈpȯr-kyə-ˌpīn \

Definition of porcupine for Students

: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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