• synonyms


[hej-hog, -hawg]
  1. an Old World, insect-eating mammal of the genus Erinaceus, especially E. europaeus, having spiny hairs on the back and sides.
  2. the porcupine.
  3. Military.
    1. a portable obstacle made of crossed logs in the shape of an hourglass, usually laced with barbed wire.
    2. an obstructive device consisting of steel bars, angle irons, etc., usually embedded in concrete, designed to damage and impede the boats and tanks of a landing force on a beach.
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Origin of hedgehog

First recorded in 1400–50, hedgehog is from the late Middle English word heyghoge. See hedge, hog
Related formshedge·hog·gy, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for hedgehog


  1. any small nocturnal Old World mammal of the genus Erinaceus, such as E. europaeus, and related genera, having a protective covering of spines on the back: family Erinaceidae, order Insectivora (insectivores)Related adjective: erinaceous
  2. any other insectivore of the family Erinaceidae, such as the moon rat
  3. US any of various other spiny animals, esp the porcupine
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hedgehog


mid-15c. (replacing Old English igl), from hedge (n.) + hog (n.); the second element a reference to its pig-like snout.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper