Definition of porcupine in English:


Syllabification: por·cu·pine
Pronunciation: /ˈpôrkyəˌpīn


  • A large rodent with defensive spines or quills on the body and tail.
    • Suborder Hystricomorpha: families Hystricidae (three Old World genera) and Erethizontidae (four New World genera). The common North American species is Erethizon dorsatum
    More example sentences
    • The rodent also seems to be an ancestor of the hystricognaths, a group of rodents that is spread across the globe and includes porcupines, African mole rats, guinea pigs, and chinchillas.
    • They have to contend with elephants, hippos, bushpigs, porcupines, vervet monkeys, baboons and birds which are after their crops.
    • Other animals photographed included elephants, sun bears, porcupines, clouded leopards, wild dogs, and panthers.


late Middle English: from Old French porc espin, from Provençal porc espi(n), from Latin porcus 'pig' + spina 'thorn'.

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