ur·​chin | \ˈər-chən \

Definition of urchin 

1 archaic : hedgehog sense 1a

2 : a mischievous and often poor and raggedly clothed youngster street urchins

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Examples of urchin in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Garrett, once the urchin, was on his way to becoming a pro-surfer champion. Paul Theroux, Smithsonian, "The Epic Quest to Ride the World’s Biggest Wave," 27 June 2018 Based on the 1992 animated film of the same name, the musical tells the story of a lovable street urchin who, with the help of a genie, learns that love is not contingent on class. Brandon T. Harden, Philly.com, "Review: 'Aladdin' at the Academy of Music overcomes technical difficulties to earn its place as one of the hottest tickets of the summer," 18 June 2018 His sternman, Roger, pulled urchins from the net on the next run and packed them into crates. Porter Fox, WSJ, "A Seafood Hater Chases Fish in Maine," 6 June 2018 The purple urchin infestation has had economic as well as ecological ramifications. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Northern California divers try to save abalone population — with a giant sea urchin vacuum," 5 Apr. 2018 When otters venture into the undersea areas eaten bare by urchin, they are easily spotted by one of their main predators, the great white shark. Washington Post, "Sea otters rebound but struggle to regain historic range," 18 May 2018 Southeast Alaska's clams, urchins and crabs have fueled lucrative fishing industries and fed hungry families for decades. Nathaniel Herz, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaskans make new push to kill more sea otters, saying they’re decimating Southeast shellfish," 17 Mar. 2018 Our hiking boots stomp over fossilized urchins that once lived in the Tethys Seas, sending electric blue lizards running for cover. Jen Murphy, Condé Nast Traveler, "Hiking the Jordan Trail to Petra," 25 Apr. 2018 The purple urchin currently has few natural predators. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Northern California divers try to save abalone population — with a giant sea urchin vacuum," 5 Apr. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near urchin






urchin fish


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

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English Language Learners Definition of urchin

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


ur·​chin | \ˈər-chən \

Kids Definition of urchin

1 : a mischievous or disrespectful youngster

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More from Merriam-Webster on urchin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for urchin

Spanish Central: Translation of urchin

Nglish: Translation of urchin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of urchin for Arabic Speakers

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playful or foolish behavior

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