Definition of hedgehog in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhɛdʒ(h)ɒɡ/


Image of hedgehog
1A small nocturnal Old World mammal with a spiny coat and short legs, able to roll itself into a ball for defence.
  • Family Erinaceidae: four genera and several species, including the common Erinaceus europaeus (which is predominantly insectivorous) of western and northern Europe
Example sentences
  • Animals co-habiting in the woods include field mice, grey squirrels, hedgehogs and three roe deer.
  • Many species of hedgehogs can roll up into a ball, hiding all vulnerable areas of the body under the protective spines.
  • The hedgehog is an old world mammal that has possibly changed little over a million years.
1.1North American A porcupine.
1.2Used in names of plants or fruits resembling a hedgehog in having spines, e.g. hedgehog cactus, hedgehog holly.
Example sentences
  • Called the hedgehog holly, this is a non-berrying male holly with exceptionally spiky dark green leaves, margined with cream.
  • It grows here, along with numerous smaller cacti, including beaver-tail cactus, California barrel cactus, hedgehog cactus, and various prickly pear cacti.
  • The glorious flower color of the hedgehog cactus rivals that of the desert sunset.


Late Middle English: from hedge (from its habitat) + hog (from its piglike snout).

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