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”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɜːtʃɪ̈n/
- (General American) enPR: ûrʹchĭn, IPA(key): /ˈɝtʃɪ̈n/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)tʃɪn
- Hyphenation: ur‧chin, urchin
urchin (plural urchins)
- A mischievous child.
- 1912 January, Zane Grey, chapter 7, in Riders of the Purple Sage: A Novel, New York, N.Y.; London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, OCLC 6868219:
- And like these fresh green things were the dozens of babies, tots, toddlers, noisy urchins, laughing girls, a whole multitude of children of one family. For Collier Brandt, the father of all this numerous progeny, was a Mormon with four wives.
- 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.
- W. Howitt
- (archaic) A hedgehog.
- A sea urchin.
- A mischievous elf supposed sometimes to take the form of a hedgehog.
- We'll dress [them] like urchins, ouphes, and fairies.
- 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?)
- (historical) A neutron-generating device that triggered the nuclear detonation of the earliest plutonium atomic bombs.