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

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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

In recent years, purple urchins have negatively impacted sections off Coral Street: multiplying rapidly, out-competing other sea creatures and consuming all kelp and other algae in sight. Nick Rahaim, SFChronicle.com, "5 best scuba diving spots in California, from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s dive director," 18 June 2019 Add to the mix a freckled urchin of a son, Opie; motherly Aunt Bee; and the bumbling deputy Barney Fife, and CBS had a wholesome hit with a refreshing lack of controversy. Sara K. Eskridge, Houston Chronicle, "Why Americans love Mayberry," 19 Aug. 2019 Purple urchins, various algae, a lone red abalone cling to a ledge that drops off to deeper water. Nick Rahaim, SFChronicle.com, "Without abalone, spearfishing hooks North Coast anglers," 17 June 2019 In addition to limpets and sea cucumbers, the girls tracked down gumboots, rock scallops, urchins, red rock crab, and tiny shrimp. Susan Shain, The Atlantic, "When Your Final Exam Is Surviving the Wilderness," 5 June 2019 Look in crevices for urchins, top snails, and true crabs. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "How low can you go? West Coast tides this summer should be astonishing," 3 June 2019 No caterwauling urchins on the fetid streets of Paris. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Les Misérables’ Review: No One Hears the People Sing," 11 Apr. 2019 The 2016-17 Southeast Alaska sea cucumber fishery was valued at $5.3 million to fishermen, geoduck clams at nearly $3 million, over $7 million for Dungeness crab and $677,000 for red urchins. Laine Welch, Anchorage Daily News, "Sea otters are wiping out Southeast dive fisheries, managers say," 21 Jan. 2018 The urchins feast on a conveyor belt of kelp salad — leaves that have broken off kelp plants. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "In a five-person submarine, scientists in Friday Harbor unravel the mysteries of the Salish Sea," 16 Sep. 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


Statistics for urchin

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for urchin

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

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English Language Learners Definition of urchin

old-fashioned : 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

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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

Comments on urchin

What made you want to look up urchin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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