\ ˈspī-nē How to pronounce spiny (audio) \
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

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 In the center of one room was a display of spiny king crabs, sea stars, and translucent spot prawns, denizens of the twilight zone. Dana Goodyear, The New Yorker, 20 June 2022 The standard trilobite limb is segmented into three distinct portions — a walking leg, or endopodite, and a gill structure, the exopodite, are connected to the body by a spiny food-processing section, the protopodite. New York Times, 6 May 2022 Got kids that can’t be trusted so close to sharp and spiny plants? Outside Online, 1 Apr. 2021 Agave and pineapple are both spiny, intimidating plants, but humans have learned to coax delicious stuff out of them. M. Carrie Allan, Washington Post, 20 May 2022 Wendy Schneider stood on the edge of a windy cliff in an untamed plateau near Death Valley National Park, inhaled deeply and admired a vista of spiny plants, rock spires and sweeping plains that has changed little in thousands of years. Louis Sahagúnstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 3 Apr. 2022 The tiny, spiny and adorable hedgehog is helping to upend conventional wisdom about the origins of drug-resistant bacterial infections that kill thousands of people each year. New York Times, 5 Jan. 2022 As the spiny critters gobble up kelp (their preferred diet), these orange-hued glands grow fat and fabulous, taking on the flavor of the seaweed and the surrounding ocean’s nutrients. Caroline Hatchett, Robb Report, 24 Jan. 2022 The unit determined that injuries to the victim's face had been caused by the spiny exterior of the conch shell, suggesting the suspect would have had to have his fingers inside the shell to hold it. CBS News, 6 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of spiny

1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries Near spiny

spin wave


spiny amaranth

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Statistics for spiny

Last Updated

3 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Spiny.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spiny. Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for spiny


\ ˈspī-nē How to pronounce spiny (audio) \
spinier; spiniest

Kids Definition of spiny

: covered with spines

More from Merriam-Webster on spiny

Nglish: Translation of spiny for Spanish Speakers


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