\ 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

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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 Each shared their unique tips and insights to smoking, grilling, and BBQing everything from tomahawk steaks to spiny lobsters, Japanese sweet potatoes, and even how to BBQ a cheesecake. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "Ride Horseback to Breakfast and Learn the Art of Cowboy Cooking at This California BBQ Bootcamp," 30 Dec. 2020 Their numbers have been decimated by a fierce invasive predator, the spiny water flea. Tim Folger, Environment, "This ferocious water flea is mauling the Great Lakes," 2 Dec. 2020 There are no effective ways to control invasive mussels or spiny water fleas. Tim Folger, Environment, "This ferocious water flea is mauling the Great Lakes," 2 Dec. 2020 Bythotrephes, a water flea with a long, spiny tail, eats other zooplankton and competes with fish for food. Jason Treat, Magazine, "The disrupted food web," 17 Nov. 2020 Recipes, like a hearty lamb barbacoa and broiled spiny lobsters, reflect the region’s robust fishing and ranching cultures. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "The best cookbooks of 2020," 2 Dec. 2020 From about Stuart, Florida, north through Georgia and the Carolinas, scuba divers do well on spiny lobsters around reefs, ledges, and hard-bottom areas. Popular Science, "14 wild edibles you can pull right out of the ocean," 19 Oct. 2020 Without otters to keep them in check, populations of sea urchins have boomed, carpeting the sea floor in spiny spheres that mow down entire forests of kelp. Katherine J. Wu New York Times, Star Tribune, "When the otters vanished, everything else started to crumble," 17 Sep. 2020 For the spiny lobsters, their social behavior is being packed together in dens, which provide them with a lot of protection. Lucy Hicks, Science | AAAS, "From lobsters to honey bees, social distancing is common in the animal kingdom," 14 Aug. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of spiny

1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for spiny

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spiny.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spiny. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for spiny



English Language Learners Definition of spiny

: having or covered with many sharp, pointed parts


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

Kids Definition of spiny

: covered with spines

More from Merriam-Webster on spiny

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spiny

Nglish: Translation of spiny for Spanish Speakers

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