Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A playful or mischievous youngster; a scamp.
  • n. A sea urchin.
  • n. A hedgehog.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A mischievous child.
  • n. street kid, a child from a poor neighborhood.
  • n. A hedgehog.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Rough; pricking; piercing.
  • n. A hedgehog.
  • n. A sea urchin. See Sea urchin.
  • n. A mischievous elf supposed sometimes to take the form a hedgehog.
  • n. A pert or roguish child; -- now commonly used only of a boy.
  • n. 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.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A hedgehog. See hedgehog and Erinaceus.
  • n. A sea-urchin.
  • n. An elf; a fairy: from the supposition that it sometimes took the form of a hedgehog.
  • n. A roguish child; a mischievous boy.
  • n. One of a pair of small cylinders covered with card-clothing, used in connection with the card-drum in a carding-machine.
  • Elfish; mischievous.
  • Trifling; foolish.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. poor and often mischievous city child

Etymologies

Middle English urchone, hedgehog, from Old French erichon, from Vulgar Latin *ērīciō, ērīciōn-, from Latin ērīcius, from ēr.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Ultimately from Latin ericius ("hedgehog"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "'I'm the King of the Castle,'" chanted the urchin from the topmost pinnacle.

    Mrs. Miniver

  • He is a very pleasant and obliging character, and dotingly fond of little Alex, from knowing and loving and honouring all his family; and this you will a little guess is something of an avenue to a certain urchin's madre.

    Juniper Hall: A Rendezvous of Certain Illustrious Personages during the French Revolution, Including Alexandre D'Arblay and Fanny Burney

  • While this was passing, the birling had drawn close to the boat; and Murray, shaking hands with his uncle and aunt, exclaimed to Wallace, "That urchin is such a monopolizer, I see you have not a greeting for anyone else."

    The Scottish Chiefs

  • All the festivities of the wedding-day destroyed, till this dear unlucky urchin is found.

    Act III

  • Heywood fancied the urchin was a wild beast of some sort on two legs, but a second glance convinced him that he was a real boy.

    Away in the Wilderness

  • Only the live prawn went uneaten and most of the sea urchin, which is a more complicated story.

    The Guardian World News

  • I too noted the change from addressing the reader to addressing the urchin, which is what confused me, but it works, so that’s what’s important!

    HEY CROW! • by Rumjhum Biswas

  • The name "urchin" comes from their body's close resemblance to the spine-covered hedgehog.

    CreationWiki - Recent changes [en]

  • 'Urchin blasts' is probably here used generally for what in _Arcades_, 49-53, are called "noisome winds and blasting vapours chill,"'urchin' being common in the sense of 'goblin'

    Milton's Comus

  • WNW is "urchin," ` defined as "a small child, esp. a boy, who is poor, ragged, etc. and often mischievous or undisciplined."

    CJR

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