Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English irchoun (hedgehog), borrowed from Old Northern French irechon, variant of Old Northern French herichun, Old French heriçun, heriçon (compare modern hérisson), from Vulgar Latin *ericio, ericionem, from Latin ericius (hedgehog).



urchin (plural urchins)

  1. A mischievous child.
  2. A street urchin, a child who lives, or spends most of their time, in the streets.
    • W. Howitt
      And the urchins that stand with their thievish eyes / Forever on watch ran off each with a prize.
  3. (archaic) A hedgehog.
  4. A sea urchin.
  5. A mischievous elf supposed sometimes to take the form of a hedgehog.
    • Shakespeare
      We'll dress [them] like urchins, ouphes, and fairies.
  6. One of a pair in a series of small card cylinders arranged around a carding drum; so called from its fancied resemblance to the hedgehog.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)
  7. (historical) A neutron-generating device that triggered the nuclear detonation of the earliest plutonium atomic bombs.

Related terms[edit]