Definition of spiny in English:


adjectivespiniest, spinier

  • 1Full of or covered with prickles.

    ‘a spiny cactus’
    • ‘Right in the middle, covering the short spiny grass, was a huge, brilliantly white Colosseum that had seen better days, but still stood sturdy and still.’
    • ‘We sharpened sticks with our pocketknives to throw at the ever-present lizards - giant spiny creatures that made the trees their home.’
    • ‘Spotted about the rocks and slope is a fairly full selection of UK starfish - common and spiny, biscuit-coloured seven-armed and brightly coloured sunstars.’
    • ‘Echimyids earn their common name because most species have spiny or bristly hairs at least on their backs and rumps.’
    • ‘Also, the undersides of an osprey's feet are covered in spiny spicules which prevent fish from wriggling free.’
    • ‘Some of the cacti are extremely large and most are very spiny.’
    • ‘The path through an entrance pavilion (embellished by a Bertoia sculpture) opens into a magical stony garden, a fragment of desert outcrop sprouting spiny cacti and frangipani.’
    • ‘Seingô shrieked in rage, and clawed out at him with spiny, thorny arms.’
    • ‘They were spiny and long, tipped with sharp spikes.’
    • ‘Members of the genus Heriaeus (spiky grass crab spider) are covered with long setae giving them a spiny appearance.’
    • ‘Don't be the straggler the predators pick off, be the hedgehog with the pointy spiny spikes - more effort than you're worth.’
    • ‘Avoid thorny and spiny plants, which can cause serious eye injuries.’
    • ‘But only the spiny puffer combines inflation and pointy spikes in one spectacular defense mechanism.’
    • ‘Both the Greater Weever and the Lesser Weever are capable of inflicting a sharp and painful sting from the spiny rays of the first dorsal fin.’
    • ‘In their desert habitats their diet consists of spiny cactus, yucca pods, creosote bush, cholla, pinyon nuts, seeds, prickly pear, and any available green vegetation.’
    • ‘Spicules are loosely interlocked to form a large and spiny subspherical shell.’
    • ‘Buckeyes are dropping from the trees - watch out for the spiny ones - and squirrels bide their time, waiting for undefended focaccia crumbs to hit the ground.’
    • ‘There's Toad who has a sharp, spiny tongue about 15 feet long that'll jump out and encircle you and toss you up against the wall.’
    • ‘A key characteristic is their well-defined spiny hairs, which cover their body and give them a prickly appearance.’
    • ‘Prunus tells us that it is a member of the plum family and spinosa means that it is spiny.’
    prickly, spiky, thorny, thistly, briary, brambly, bristly, bristled, spiked, barbed, pronged, scratchy, sharp
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    1. 1.1informal Difficult to understand or handle.
      ‘a spiny problem’
      • ‘But apparently enamored of their own hype aura, they've spelled out ‘too cool for school’ in wracked and twisted pipe cleaners and call the tangled and spiny mess a second album.’
      • ‘More often then not, in any SEO project, the spiny issue of homepage word-count arises in the process of optimizing a client's site.’
      • ‘Hi All, I know this is a very spiny issue, but please refrain from posting ads offering analytical services.’
      difficult, puzzling, perplexing, baffling, bewildering, mystifying, knotty, thorny, ticklish, problematic, enigmatic, complicated, complex, intricate, involved, tangled, insoluble, unfathomable, impenetrable, incomprehensible, unanswerable
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