urchin

noun ur·chin \ ˈər-chən \
Updated on: 12 May 2018

Definition of urchin

1 archaic : hedgehog 1a
2 : a mischievous and often poor and raggedly clothed youngster
  • street urchins

Examples of urchin in a Sentence

  1. we could never resist the little urchin's pleas for candy

Recent Examples of urchin from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of urchin

Middle English yrchoun, urchoun, from Anglo-French heriçun, hirechoun, from Old French *eriz, from Latin ericius, from eris; akin to Greek chēr hedgehog

Other Invertebrates (Except Insects) Terms


URCHIN Defined for English Language Learners

urchin

Definition of urchin for English Language Learners

  • : a usually poor and dirty child who annoys people or causes minor trouble


URCHIN Defined for Kids

urchin

noun ur·chin \ ˈər-chən \

Definition of urchin for Students

1 : a mischievous or disrespectful youngster

History for urchin

The English word urchin first meant “hedgehog.” In the 1500s some people seem to have compared mischievous children to hedgehogs and began calling them urchins. The sea urchin got its name because it has spines like a hedgehog.



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