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See also: hedge-hog


a hedgehog (mammal)
(Erinaceus europaeus)
hedgehog mortar
hedgehog-type dredge cutter
Medicago intertexta pods (G)
hedgehog transformer


From hedge +‎ hog.



hedgehog (plural hedgehogs)

  1. A small mammal, of the family Erinaceidae or subfamily Erinaceinae (spiny hedgehogs, the latter characterized by their spiny back and often by the habit of rolling up into a ball when attacked.)
    • 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene ii], page 9, column 1:
      [L]ike Hedg-hogs vvhich / Lye tumbling in my bare-foote vvay, and mount / Their pricks at my foot-fall: ſometime am I / All vvound vvith Adders, vvho vvith clouen tongues / Doe hiſſe me into madneſſe: []
  2. (US) Any of several spiny mammals, such as the porcupine, that are similar to the hedgehog.
  3. (military) Ellipsis of Czech hedgehog: an antitank obstacle constructed from three steel rails.
    • 2022 March 21, Bill Chappell, “SWIFT, hedgehog, MiG: Here's a guide to the terms of war in Ukraine”, in SPECIAL SERIES: Ukraine invasion — explained[1], NPR, retrieved 2022-03-21:
      Ukrainian civilians have been DIY-ing hedgehogs, welding two bars or beams at an angle to make a cross and then adding a third to ensure it holds its shape even if it's knocked over.
  4. (informal, military, historical) A spigot mortar-type of depth charge weapon from World War II that simultaneously fires a number of explosives into the water to create a pattern of underwater explosions intended to attack submerged submarines.
  5. (Australia) A type of chocolate cake (or slice), somewhat similar to an American brownie.
    • 2005, Paul Mitchell, The Favourite, Frank Moorhouse, The Best Australian Stories 2005, page 145,
      There are hedgehogs with sultanas as well as breadcrumbs, carrot cakes and fruitcakes and banana walnut loaves.
    • 2008, Lili Wilkinson, The Not Quite Perfect Boyfriend, unnumbered page:
      I am so flustered that I order a vanilla slice instead of hedgehog.
    • 2009, Adam Shand, The Skull: Informers, Hit Men and Australia's Toughest Cop, page 199:
      His wife had made a hedgehog cake and he offered some but Murphy refused – his mouth was so dry with terror he couldn′t swallow.
  6. A form of dredging machine.
    • 1868, "Dredging," article in Charles Tomlinson (editor), Cyclopædia of Useful Arts, Mechanical and Chemical, Manufactures, Mining, and Engineering, Volume 1, page 520,
      The first machines merely loosened, but did not raise the stuff, a scouring being afterwards effected by means of sluices. These machines consisted of large bars or prongs placed vertically in a frame, and being fastened to a barge placed in the line of the sluices, the whole was inpelled forward by the current, thereby scouring the bed. Such a machine, called a hedgehog, is still used in Lincolnshire.
  7. Certain flowering plants with parts resembling a member of family Erinaceidae
    1. Medicago intertexta, the pods of which are armed with short spines.
    2. Retzia capensis of South Africa.
  8. The edible fungus Hydnum repandum.
    Synonyms: sweet tooth, wood hedgehog
    • 1998, Randy Molina; David Pilz, Managing Forest Ecosystems to Conserve Fungus Diversity and Sustain Wild Mushroom Harvests:
      Hedgehogs fruit from autumn until late spring. Many consumers are still unfamiliar with hedgehogs, and they have a relatively small commercial trade.
  9. A kind of electrical transformer with open magnetic circuit, the ends of the iron wire core being turned outward and presenting a bristling appearance.
  10. A way of serving food at a party, consisting of a half melon or potato etc. with individual cocktail sticks of cheese and pineapple stuck into it.
  11. (differential geometry) A type of plane curve; see Hedgehog (geometry).


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hedgehog (third-person singular simple present hedgehogs, present participle hedgehogging, simple past and past participle hedgehogged)

  1. (military) To make use of a hedgehog barricade as a defensive maneuver.
    • 1966, Theodor Plievier, Stalingrad, page 43:
      Hedgehogging means — let us call a spade a spade — that we're were encircled: It's something that has been forced upon us, a predicament from which we ought to try to escape as fast as possible.
    • 2012, Samuel W. Mitcham Jr. & Gene Mueller, Hitler's Commanders, →ISBN:
      Luettwitz hedgehogged his regiment and held his positions until the rest of the division arrived two days later.
    • 2007, Samuel W. Mitcham Jr., Rommel's Desert War: The Life and Death of the Afrika Korps, →ISBN:
      During the night of May 27 the 90th Light Division hedgehogged south of El Adem.
  2. To array with spiky projections like the quills of a hedgehog.
    • 2008, Antonia Quirke, Choking on Marlon Brando, →ISBN:
      All around were styrofoam cups hedgehogged with butts, and the threebar electric heater was encrusted with bits of charcoaled tobacco and frazzled stands of hair where people had stooped down to spark up.
    • 2008, Max Hennessy, Back to Battle, →ISBN, page 300:
      The walls were pockmarked with fragments of stone and hedgehogged with jagged daggers of glass, while in the street below there were sickening splodges on the pavement which a workman was covering with sawdust.
    • 2014, George Ryder, Last Action Zero, →ISBN, page 39:
      I think they're from different faculties,” I reply, taking a step back to peruse the table filled with assorted snacks, my hand hovering over the hedgehogged tray of cheese and pineapple cocktail sticks.
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To curl up into a defensive ball.
    • 2008, A.L. Kennedy, Day, →ISBN, page 229:
      You try for his head, but he's hedgehogged round now, elbows beside his ears and you can't get him.
    • 2011, Edwin Thomas, The Blighted Cliffs, →ISBN, page 13:
      I stayed hedgehogged in my ball, listening for movement and trying to ignore the cramp in my legs, the ache in my gut and — encore — the throbbing in my temples.
    • 2014, Robert Ryan, The Dead Can Wait, →ISBN, page 287:
      The dead man was lying on a pile of the blankets, curled up, his hands interlocked behind his head, knees drawn up to his chest. Hedgehogged, just like the others.

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