ur·​chin | \ ˈər-chən How to pronounce urchin (audio) \

Definition of urchin

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

Examples of urchin in a Sentence

we could never resist the little urchin's pleas for candy
Recent Examples on the Web One of his weirdest quirks is his habit of pretending to be a Victorian urchin on the run from the orphanage. Jessica Kiang, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2021 After the purple urchin’s main predator, the sunflower sea star, died off from a wasting disease, the urchins ate up the kelp that remained. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 Nov. 2021 The research also involves inspecting the urchin’s stomach contents. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Aug. 2021 Our initial reactions to the 2022 BMW Alpina B8 were like the overawed exclamations of a street urchin meeting a member of high society. Elana Scherr, Car and Driver, 14 Oct. 2021 Where lush strands of giant kelp or whiplike bull kelp once swayed, entire swaths of the underwater forests have been razed to nubs by one particular predator: the purple urchin. Sierra Garcia, Wired, 18 Sep. 2021 The artist Joseph Cornell once requested a picture of a street urchin with a white cockatoo. New York Times, 3 Aug. 2021 Flash forward a decade, and the urchin has grown up into Stone, getting by mostly as a thief with her pals Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser). Brian Lowry, CNN, 27 May 2021 Sea urchin, aged kimchi, and Korean mustard are served separately to make things more explosive on the palate. Alissa Fitzgerald, Forbes, 15 May 2021

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.

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First Known Use of urchin

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for urchin

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

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The first known use of urchin was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

20 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Urchin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/urchin. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for urchin



English Language Learners Definition of urchin

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


ur·​chin | \ ˈər-chən How to pronounce urchin (audio) \

Kids Definition of urchin

1 : a mischievous or disrespectful youngster

More from Merriam-Webster on urchin

Nglish: Translation of urchin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of urchin for Arabic Speakers


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