Definitions

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

  • n. Any of various rodents of the Old World family Hystricidae or the New World family Erethizontidae, having long, sharp, erectile quills interspersed with coarse hair.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several rodents covered with stiff, sharp, erectile, spines or quills (that stand straight up when the animal is attacked or surprised), belonging to one of two taxonomic families: Hystricidae (Old World porcupines) and Erethizontidae (New World porcupines).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any Old Word rodent of the genus Hystrix, having the back covered with long, sharp, erectile spines or quills, sometimes a foot long. The common species of Europe and Asia (Hystrix cristata) is the best known.
  • n. Any species of Erethizon and related genera, native of America. They are related to the true porcupines, but have shorter spines, and are arboreal in their habits. The Canada porcupine (Erethizon dorsatus) is a well known species.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A hystricomorphic rodent quadruped of the family Hystricidæ, of which there are several genera and many species, representing two subfamilies, the Hystricinæ or Old World porcupines, which are all terrestrial and fossorial animals, and the Sphingurinæ or New World porcupines, more or less arboreal, and in some cases having a prehensile tail.
  • n. An apparatus for heckling flax.
  • n. A cylindrical heckle for worsted yarn.
  • To cause to stand up like a porcupine's quills.

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

  • n. relatively large rodents with sharp erectile bristles mingled with the fur

Etymologies

Middle English porke despine, from Old French porc espin : Latin porcus, pig; + Latin spīna, thorn, spine.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Literally spiny-pig, from Latin porcus ("pig"), + spinus ("spine"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Having sexual relations with a porcupine is illegal in Florida.

    Top Ten WTF U.S. Sex Laws | Disinformation

  • At the risk of inspiring his ire, by blowing his cover, I would like to say that IMO, Bubba is a pussycat in porcupine's clothing.

    Page 2

  • Highly perceptive and of course rejected by a good portion of both the Mexican and American people because that perception of the USA as a blundering Bear and Mexico as a defensive porcupine is offensive to so many people.

    KEEPING ON TRACK.

  • She remembered her childhood days and the stories she loved to hear about the unusual powers of her grandfather, – recalled how she, the wee girl, had coveted the medicine bags, beaded and embroidered in porcupine quills, in symbols designed by the great "medicine man," her grandfather.

    American Indian Stories

  • The porcupine is said to have been very partial to the leaves and bark of the hemlock for food.

    Rural Hours

  • Porcupine, Tim explains "I thought the physical animal called the porcupine was a perfect symbol for the sound of this record in that it appears to be a gentle and harmless creature from a distance but up close it is in fact sharp and potentially dangerous."

    JamBase

  • "Izzy" is a 3-month-old African crested porcupine, which is considered the largest rodent in Africa.

    Baby Animals: Lions, Leopards, Porcupines, Monkeys And More (VIDEO)

  • At the word porcupine, Zip braced up and said, "Never mind about my looks!

    Zip, the Adventures of a Frisky Fox Terrier

  • "You might think that the favorite plant of the porcupine is the cactus..."

    Archive 2006-10-01

  • We went with our friends fabulous Lulu and Chris aka porcupine head and had a blast.

    Pussy Cyclone is Coming to Get You!

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