- a mischievous boy.
- any small boy or youngster.
- sea urchin.
- either of two small rollers covered with card clothing used in conjunction with the cylinder in carding.
- Chiefly British Dialect. a hedgehog.
- Obsolete. an elf or mischievous sprite.
Origin of urchin
SynonymsSee more synonyms for urchin on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for urchin
Despite enjoying singing, and a tiny role as ‘Urchin No. 30’ in a production of Oliver!Eddie Redmayne’s Star-Making Turn
December 25, 2012
The urchin looked proudly up in his face, but made no reply.The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
"They've stopped to take a drink, you can go your money on it," said the urchin.
All at once the urchin came to a halt and planted himself in front of Henriette.
First Urchin (to Captain who has just bought a new motor-horn).
So ended the Urchin's first introduction to a university education.Pipefuls
Word Origin and History for urchin
late 13c., yrichon "hedgehog," from Old North French *irechon (cf. Picard irechon, Walloon ireson, Hainaut hirchon), from Old French herichun "hedgehog" (Modern French hérisson), formed with diminutive suffix -on + Vulgar Latin *hericionem, from Latin ericius "hedgehog," from PIE root *gher- "to bristle" (cf. Greek kheros "hedgehog;" see horror).
Still used for "hedgehog" in non-standard speech in Cumbria, Yorkshire, Shropshire. Applied throughout 16c. to people whose appearance or behavior suggested hedgehogs, from hunchbacks (1520s) to goblins (1580s) to bad girls (c.1530); meaning "poorly or raggedly clothed youngster" emerged 1550s, but was not in frequent use until after c.1780. Sea urchin is recorded from 1590s (a 19c. Newfoundland name for them was whore's eggs).