spiny

adjective
\ˈspī-nē \
spinier; spiniest

Definition of spiny 

1 : abounding with difficulties, obstacles, or annoyances : thorny spiny problems

2 : covered or armed with spines broadly : bearing spines, prickles, or thorns

3 : slender and pointed like a spine

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from spiny

spininess noun

Examples of spiny in a Sentence

this promises to be a spiny problem to negotiate

Recent Examples on the Web

One of them has an Asian theme, with extraordinary bonsai, while another is planted with the cactuses and spiny plants of the American Southwestern desert. New York Times, "Francine Prose on Montreal in the Spring: The Time of the Butterflies," 11 June 2018 But less welcome critters soon followed: sea lampreys, alewives, spiny water fleas, and the poster bivalves for ecological trouble, zebra and quagga mussels. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee loves its rivers and Lake Michigan — and keeps abusing them, too," 3 July 2018 Like its adult counterparts, the little arthropod had a spiny raptorial appendage used for grasping prey and the radiodontan’s characteristic circular mouth filled with sharp teeth. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "This Prehistoric Sea Creature Had Fanged, Killer Babies," 11 June 2018 Unlike red urchins, the spiny purple urchins are no one’s idea of a favorite meal, whether human or otter. Washington Post, "Sea otters rebound but struggle to regain historic range," 18 May 2018 Leaves are thick and leathery, 2 to 3 inches wide with spiny margins. Karen Dardick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Bromeliads create garden drama," 17 May 2018 Radiated tortoises used to be found along roadways in the dry, spiny forests of south and southwest Madagascar. Bloomberg.com, "Over 10,000 Endangered Tortoises Rescued From Traffickers," 2 May 2018 Radiated tortoises used to be found along roadways in the dry, spiny forests of south and southwest Madagascar. Washington Post, "Over 10,000 endangered tortoises are rescued in Madagascar," 2 May 2018 Incidentally some sowthistle is perennial, the spiny sowthistles are annuals. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, "Save yourself some work in your garden and with your lawn this year | Idaho Statesman," 2 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of spiny

1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spiny

Statistics for spiny

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spiny

The first known use of spiny was in 1586

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spiny

spiny

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of spiny

: having or covered with many sharp, pointed parts

spiny

adjective
\ˈspī-nē \
spinier; spiniest

Kids Definition of spiny

: covered with spines

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on spiny

What made you want to look up spiny? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!