Definition of hedgehog in US English:

hedgehog

noun

  • 1A small nocturnal Old World mammal with a spiny coat and short legs, able to roll itself into a ball for defense.

    Family Erinaceidae: four genera and several species, including the common hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) of western and northern Europe, which is predominantly insectivorous

    • ‘By the time of spring, his hedgehog had put on so much weight that his short paws were hardly visible beneath his stuffed underside.’
    • ‘The hedgehog is an old world mammal that has possibly changed little over a million years.’
    • ‘The public is being asked to survey kingfishers, skylarks, water voles and hedgehogs so that as much information as possible can be gathered.’
    • ‘It is said that if the fox finds the hedgehog near water it can coax him from his defensive shell by rolling him with it paw until finally the hedgehog is in the water and forced to come out to save himself from drowning only to face a worse fate.’
    • ‘Many species of hedgehogs can roll up into a ball, hiding all vulnerable areas of the body under the protective spines.’
    • ‘It has now become a haven for wildlife such as deer, voles and hedgehogs, and boasts rare wild flowers’
    • ‘The mammals the researchers studied were the platypus, echidna, opossum, wallaby, hedgehog, mouse, rat, rabbit, cow, pig, bat, tree shrew, colugo, ringtail lemur, and humans.’
    • ‘Baby hedgehogs are born with short, soft spines that don't harden for several weeks, and baby humans cannot walk on their own for the first couple of years.’
    • ‘A hedgehog isn't a hedgehog if it doesn't have any needles!’
    • ‘Can you think of any other animals that roll into a ball for defence as well as an armadillo or hedgehog?’
    • ‘They still refer to me as ‘hoggie’, short for hedgehog, because I am apparently ‘prickly but cute.’’
    • ‘Improved road design could mean fewer squashed hedgehogs and other mammal casualties, according to experts.’
    • ‘So far as I know the hedgehog never returned so I presume he, or she, got the message.’
    • ‘The study found that while some species, including hedgehogs, voles, shrews, dormice and hares, are generally declining in rural areas, their populations are rising in towns, cities and suburbs.’
    • ‘He was, in short, a hedgehog living in a world populated with foxes.’
    • ‘He has taken photographs of hedgehogs and grey squirrels, the latter coming running when they are called.’
    • ‘A puppy came crawling out of the bath, its coat was so filthy it looked like a hedgehog.’
    • ‘All the family can find out about hedgehogs and help make hedgehog boxes.’
    • ‘Animals co-habiting in the woods include field mice, grey squirrels, hedgehogs and three roe deer.’
    • ‘Suburban householders report large numbers of hedgehogs, voles, shrews, dormice and hares.’
    1. 1.1North American Any other animal covered with spines, especially a porcupine.

Origin

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

Pronunciation

hedgehog

/ˈhejˌhôɡ//ˈhɛdʒˌhɔɡ/